Students march for drug and cancer awareness

| 09/02/2017
CNS Local Life

Cayman Academy students who marched to the Annex, where they heard anti-drug messages

(CNS Local Life): Cayman Academy made its presence felt in George Town on Friday, 3 February, by marching to deliver its annual contribution to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and taking a stand with the National Drug Council (NDC) against drug use and abuse. “The National Drug Council was delighted to partner with Cayman Academy during its Health Week that coincided with the NDC’s National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week,” said Dr Susan Young, NDC prevention and education officer.

“We commend Cayman Academy for taking such a proactive role in promoting a drug-free lifestyle among its students and for organising this drug-free march through George Town.”

Students, decked in T-shirts which proclaimed, “I Want to Live Healthy”, marched from the school’s Walkers Road location to the Cancer Society’s headquarters next to the Cayman Islands Hospital, to the beat of the Savannah Church’s Gideon Marching Band. The school’s charities coordinator, Sophia Hamilton, presented a donation of CI$3,148 to the Cancer Society’s project coordinator Victoria Gray, who said that the funds would go to alleviating the often devastating impact of a cancer diagnosis on patients’ lives. The school has been donating to the organisation since 2010.

Gray added that in cases where patients may be unable to work or where health insurance is insufficient or non-existent, the Cancer Society steps in to help. She thanked the school for not only the significant financial contribution but also for raising awareness about the importance of caring and sharing in times of need.

From the Cancer Society, the students walked to central George Town, through the School Road, Mary Street, Shedden Road and Eastern Avenue communities distributing drug education pamphlets to homes and passing vehicles. While marching, the students chanted slogans such as “Think before you drink” and “Say no to drugs/yes to hugs,” as they distributed bottles of water.

Following that, the students assembled at the Annex Field next to George Town Primary School (GTPS), where Cayman Academy principal Dr O’Neil Duncan, high school director Alicia Castillo-Timothy and GTPS principal Marie Martin shared anti-drug abuse messages with the young people.

The two events were the climax of the academy’s Health Week that this year focused on reinforcing anti-drug and -alcohol use and abuse messages. During the week, the NDC rolled out its new healthy lifestyle, healthy choices curriculum aimed at primary students.

“The feedback was very positive and the eagerness of the students at such a young age to learn all they can about making wise choices was very encouraging,” Dr Young said, adding that she looked forward to continue collaborations.

Among NDC-initiated activities during the week were poster, photo and video competitions, and an exhibition on the dangers of drug use. During the week, Dr Young presented findings of a recent NDC survey at a home school association meeting.

“The goal of the NDC is to have a population free from drugs, alcohol and substance abuse within the Cayman Islands,” she said. “Partnerships with schools such as Cayman Academy are vital to the NDC achieving this goal. It is not enough to just tell students to say no to drugs, a continuing programme of dialogue and strategies need to be put in place for students to make smart choices.”

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Category: Community, Donations, Schools

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