Students Inspired to Live Drug-Free Through Art

Each year, ACPS students take part in designing artwork that reminds all students about the need to stay drug-free. ACPS takes substance abuse very seriously and works hard to create a climate that supports student success.

The Red Ribbon Week campaign is the oldest drug prevention campaign in the nation. Students and staff in secondary schools engaged in more than 220 community circle conversations on the topic, schools throughout the division held spirit days and more than 200 students submitted artwork for the contest.

ACPS students Kate Jimenez, Geremias Ayala Chicas and Brendan Huber-Wilker have shared their inspiration for their winning works of art — selected from among more than 200 contest submissions — to represent the theme, “Life is a journey. Travel drug free,” as part of last fall’s Red Ribbon Week campaign.

Here is what each of the students had to say about their work:

poster art in bright yellow

Kate Jimenez, Grade 4, Patrick Henry School

An aspiring illustrator, Kate gets upset when she sees people smoke. She thinks about how it affects a person’s body and wanted to show through her poster what’s possible in life if you avoid drugs and smoking.

This is my journey to a drug free world. For as long as we focus on love for family, get active and have fun with sports and study to graduate and become a professional, we will achieve our dreams. Stay drug free and be happy like me!” — Kate Jimenez, Grade 4, Patrick Henry School

silouette of a person reaching up to the earth above while being held down by chains

Geremias Ayala Chicas, Grade 7, George Washington Middle School

Geremias has always loved to draw and likes to draw about causes he cares about. Recalling people he’s known and known of who are missing out on life because drugs inspired his design.

The person is trying to get back to how he used to be but drugs are trying to prevent it. For this person, it’s hard to get out of drugs and return to how good he used to be. This is why you shouldn’t do drugs. Because it’s really hard to get out of drug addiction.” — Geremias Ayala Chicas, Grade 7, George Washington Middle School.


silouette of a person reaching up in the night sky

Brendan Huber-Wilker, 12th Grade, T.C. Williams High School

Through his design, Brendan hopes to inspire others to gaze upon the vast expanse of the night sky and remember what it means to follow their dreams.

The poster’s design serves as a message to travel life to its fullest extent and that if one does drugs, this journey can never be realized. The silhouette standing atop the mountain is a symbol for those appreciating the beauty of the world around them and enjoying their life to its ‘peak’ because they chose to be drug free.” — Brendan Huber-Wilker, 12th Grade, T.C. Williams High School

The students and their artwork were acknowledged at last week’s School Board meeting during National Drug Facts Week.

ACPS, Alexandria City High School, Awards, George Washington, Patrick Henry