Latrobe district 1st-grader wins national photo contest in drug prevention campaign
During afternoon announcements one December day at Baggaley Elementary School, first-grader Brianna Hoffer was stunned to hear her name.
“It was the cutest face. Her mouth was open, and she was completely shocked,” said her mother, Janet Hoffer, who saw the event unfold in a recorded video.
The 6-year-old girl was among 10 families throughout the country chosen as a National Red Ribbon Photo Contest winner by the National Family Partnership, which directs Red Ribbon Week, the nation's largest drug prevention campaign.
The whole family, including dad Brian Hoffer, decorated the door of their Unity home in October using the Red Ribbon Week theme “A Healthy Me Is Drug Free,” then submitted the photo for online voting.
“We put lights and ribbon around our door and made it festive,” recalled Janet Hoffer.
Greater Latrobe School District posted a link on its website to boost votes for the Hoffer family in the contest, which lasted from Nov. 6 to 19.
The family was not sure how many votes their decorations had received, Hoffer said, except that participants were allowed to vote up to 10 times per day, and they encouraged all their friends, family and co-workers to vote in addition to the word spread by the district.
“We had no clue; it came as a surprise,” she said.
As one of the winners, Brianna was awarded an iPad for her family and a $1,000 drug prevention grant for her school.
“It was a family-driven activity that the partnership wanted, so it was a family reward, but she'll use it most of anybody,” her mother said.
Brianna was presented with the award by principal Kimberly Hrezo and a special agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration at the end of the Christmas program in front of the whole student body.
“I learned about making healthy choices,” said Brianna, adding that she was happy to be chosen, and it was “the best time I ever had.”
Janet Hoffer first heard about the contest through her work as prevention coordinator with the Westmoreland County Drug and Alcohol Commission.
She said she talks to her daughter about making healthy choices and doing the right thing.
Students need to know that their parents are a source of open communication, she believes.
“Peer pressure is huge for the kids and a struggle they face every day,” Hoffer said.
Brianna can serve as a role model for her peers, Hrezo said.
“Drug prevention is so important because there's so much drug use around, and we need to be proactive now to make sure our children know how to make good decisions,” Hrezo said. “We want them to lead a healthy lifestyle, so they can go far.”
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.