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WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, OH (Toledo News Now) -
Washington Local Schools wants students to stay healthy and drug-free, and they're raising awareness with their 24th annual Candlelight Walk.
"It's a real serious message, and so every year, we do this walk," said Becky Swisher, the district's social worker.
More than 1,500 students, parents, staff and community members gathered at Whitmer Stadium Monday evening to participate in the event, which kicks off the district's year of drug prevention activities.
The night was filled with raffle prizes, a band performance, cheerleaders with drug-free chants, and essay award winners in the district being recognized for their writing.
"The whole theme of the night is to stay drug and alcohol free," Swisher said.
The district asks students and their parents to make a pledge to remain drug-free.
"All of us face peer pressure…and this is really a way to help support our kids and their families in making a commitment to stay drug and alcohol free and to make good choices," said Neil Rochotte, director of student services. "Together they'll do a student pledge where all the kids are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, proclaiming that they're going to make this commitment, so it's a way to build positive culture in the whole school."
Rochotte says over the years the event has grown into encouraging students to make good choice and treat one another with respect.