A Red Ribbon Week celebration was held to honor Lee County drug-free children on Wednesday night at the Lee County Education Center.
Dozens of students have been honored for their efforts towards a drug-free Lee with five recipients named of the top three honorary awards.
The recipients of the Al Oerter Award for Academic and Athletic Excellence, which includes both boys and girls categories, were Keon Anderson of Island Coast High School and Lucy Casto-Waters of Cape Coral High School.
The recipient of the Jim Nathan Leadership Award was Carson Mulvey of Dunbar High School.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Service Award recipients to our nation were Adam Larochelle of Cypress Lake High School and Brittanie Wisniewski of Bonita Springs High School.
“These are children who are engaged and successful in activities and academics that are positive behaviors used as addiction prevention,” said Mary Fischer, school board member and board member of the Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida of nominees and honorees. “They do things that are healthy and contribute positively to the community. Prevention is the key.
She said the student athletes and artists were chosen by teachers and administrators and recommended to Executive Director Deborah Comella.
Comella said the nominations are reviewed by members of the community for the various awards. Cathy Oerter selects recipients for the Al Oerter award, Lee Health selects the Jim Nathan award and a group from the Lee County Sheriff’s office selects the Service of Our Nation award.
The 19th annual Al Oerter Award for Academic and Sporting Excellence is named in memory of Al Oerter, a quadruple Olympic gold medalist. The awarded students embody his philosophy of excellence in individual sport, his studies and his commitment to community service and a drug-free lifestyle.
The Jim Nathan Leadership Award was created to honor an outstanding student leader from Lee County.
The 2021 Service to Our Nation Award is presented to a student with at least 12 months of service as a member of the ROTC, or Explorers, and who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills, commitment to academic excellence, community and a drug-free lifestyle.
“I think it helped the students because it encouraged those activities and behaviors, which keep them on a positive path. They are involved in things that take time and energy which increase their social circles ”, said Fischer. “The red ribbon award and attention to it is a catalyst in getting communities to educate young people and encourage participation in drug-free activities. “
Fischer said the goal is to keep their 2021 Red Ribbon theme, “Drug free looks like me. “
Fischer said the coalition was formed by Nathan, former CEO and chairman of Lee Health, in 1989.
“We tried to remind everyone to contribute daily to their community by doing their best living drug free,” he added. said Fischer. “I’ve been with them since 2000. I’ve worked with student services and been assigned to the Drug House Odyssey. It’s great because the coalition is exactly what the name suggests. (He’s) involved with over 20 different agencies in the community… the justice system, law enforcement, hospital… they all partner with the Coalition to encourage positive drug-free behavior.
She said the Drug House Odyssey has been going on for 30 years.
“I don’t think it would have lasted that long if it hadn’t been for a positive impact. It’s all a community effort coming together to help young people stay healthy and busy in a positive way ”, said Fischer.
With the pandemic, the Drug House Odyssey switched to video format, which was provided to all schools last year.
Al Oerter Award for Academic and Sports Excellence
• Melissa Arciere (Bonita Springs high school)
• Guiliana Carlini (Estero high school)
• Baker (Lucy) Castro-Waters (Cape Coral High School)
• Julianne Cunard (Cypress Lake High School)
• Ezarya Dale (Dunbar High School)
• Courtney Dingerson (Ida S. Baker High School)
• Heidi Kinsey (Fort Myers High School)
• Genavieve Molloy (North Fort Myers High School)
• Ashley Rodriguez (South Fort Myers High School)
• Laci Roszell (Riverdale High School)
• Stephanie Snyder (Mariner High School)
• Jasmine Vasquez (Riverdale High School)
Al Oerter Award for Academic and Sports Excellence
• Keon Anderson (Island Coast High School)
• Carson Dougherty (South Fort Myers High School)
• Paul Flores (Gateway High School)
• Fort Keelan (Estero High School)
• Jayden Franklin (Cape Coral High School)
• Rowen Fricke (Riverdale High School)
• Jacob Fritz (Ida S. Baker High School)
• Caden Jakacki (marine school)
• Ivan Marin-Padilla (Dunbar High School)
• Roland Colsen Palmer (Fort Myers High School)
• Nekhi Perry (North Fort Myers High School)
• William Perry (Bonita Springs High School)
• Vincent Stoll (Cypress Lake High School)
Jim Nathan Leadership Award
• Savannah Braun (marine high school)
• Quinn Campbell (Fort Myers High School)
• Gabrielle Ceurvels (Bonita Springs high school)
• Annabel Crater (Cypress Lake High School)
• Ayin Cruz (Gateway High School)
• Alexandra Davidson (North Fort Myers High School)
• Hayden Germanis (Estero high school)
• Kenise Jackson (Dunbar High School)
• Natalee Jones (Cape Coral High School)
• Carson Mulvey (Dunbar High School)
• José Manuel Roa (Riverdale high school)
• Deylysia Smart (East Lee County High School)
• Kaiden Wells (Mariner High School)
Lee County Sheriff’s Office Award to Our Nation
• Austin Arthur (Estero High School)
• Jacob Bilancione (Cape Coral High School)
• Abigail Fleuridor (Dunbar High School)
• Alexis Gifford (Mariner High School)
• Adam Larochelle (Cypress Lake High School)
• Nancy Morales (South Fort Myers High School)
• Benjamin Records (Fort Myers High School)
• Justin Rodriguez (Gateway High School)
• Arthur Smith, Jr. (East Lee County High School)
• Morgan Thynes (Ida S. Baker High School)
• Brittanie Wisniewski (Bonita Springs High School)
• Ryan Ziegler (North Fort Myers High School)