Portrait of a Graduate in Action: Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-27


Portrait of a Graduate in Action: Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-27

October 20, 2023

Portrait of a Graduate in Action is a regular feature that will provide greater meaning and examples to the Warwick Valley Central School District’s Portrait of a Graduate, a representation of the district’s priority goals for teaching and learning to create graduates who are collaborators, communicators, creators and innovators, ethical and global citizens, resilient individuals, problem-solvers, and life-long learners.


Education and community initiatives play pivotal roles in shaping people’s values and character. As the Warwick Valley Central School District prepares to celebrate Red Ribbon Week (Monday, October 23 – Friday, October 27) it is interesting to see the ways that our district’s Portrait of a Graduate and the mission of the national Red Ribbon Week program complement one another, specifically in their purpose to foster positive development in students and best prepare them for the world ahead.

Portrait of a Graduate reflects the district’s vision for our students, emphasizing holistic development that goes beyond just academic excellence.

“The seven tenets of our Portrait of a Graduate reflect the collective vision of stakeholders from all over our community – our staff, our families, the people who live in the community we serve – of what skills, attributes and dispositions a student should possess in order to hit the ground running after their education in Warwick Valley. We want them to be equipped to become fulfilled, positive and contributing forces in today’s increasingly global world,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach. 

The main goal of Red Ribbon Week is to promote drug awareness and prevention among the student body. It also gives them the skills and resources they need to take the messages they learn out into their communities. We consider this the role of a Communicator, someone who connects with others both like and unlike them, who can listen carefully, ask insightful questions, and approach relating to their peers and neighbors by understanding topics and their audiences. 

When we think of what it takes to be a Resilient Individual in our Portrait of a Graduate framework, we are talking specifically about being able to make good choices in the face of challenges, and persevere when they arise. Red Ribbon Week teaches us that maintaining a healthy body and mind, and staying goal-oriented and tackling tasks through successful planning are the keys to resilience. Instilling resilience and avoiding destructive decisions helps guide young people toward responsible behaviors and healthy living that will serve them and their communities in the long term. 

Both programs underscore the significance of community involvement and engagement. The Red Ribbon Week program emphasizes the importance of community support when it comes to creating a positive and nurturing environment for youth. Portrait of a Graduate calls that being an Ethical & Global Citizen. Those people exhibit the important qualities of empathy, compassion, and respect for others, while making an effort to understand a variety of cultures and perspectives outside their own. Both Portrait of a Graduate and Red Ribbon Week aim to instill a strong sense of ethics and moral values, and strive to create responsible, compassionate, and conscientious individuals who contribute positively to their communities.

Finally, there are Lifelong Learners. They don’t just love learning, they are individuals dedicated to understanding themselves and their world more and more as time goes on. During Red Ribbon Week, students learn how to always remain vigilant, even-headed and responsible with their choices; it is a set of intellectual tools meant to be sharpened and expanded over time. They are enthusiastic about, and see the potential in, gaining new knowledge from their peers and community. Lifelong Learners can be professionals dedicated to research, artists committed to expression, or anyone who has made self-directed learning an essential part of their personal growth. 

Portrait of a Graduate and Red Ribbon Week share the fundamental principles of responsible decision-making, community involvement, and ethical development at their cores. And both are aimed at creating all new generations of well-rounded, conscientious and socially responsible individuals.


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