3oth ANNUAL CAP "SAY NO TO DRUGS" MARCH AT PULASKI STREET SCHOOL
Let's Move to Beyonce Video. / Video Highlights of the CAP March and the talks before the March / CAP's Video
Samantha Heidtmann -- Keynote speaker
(June 5, 2015) Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Inc. (CAP) sponsored its 30th Annual Say NO to Drugs March on Friday, June 5, 2015. Samantha Heidtmann, a Riverhead elementary physical education teacher and Project Fit America’s 2014 National All Star Teacher of the Year, was this year’s honored guest and keynote speaker. >Watch the Keynote Video
Ms. Heidtmann has been a physical education teacher at Roanoke Avenue Elementary School for the past ten years. Last year she was one of only six teachers nationwide to receive the prestigious national award, which recognizes teachers who excel exceptionally well in the Project Fit America (PFA) program. The program teaches children to take responsibility for their health and embrace healthy lifestyle choices with enthusiasm. Riverhead Central School District was the first district in New York State to implement this program through grants from Peconic Bay Medical Center and the Suffolk County Lions Diabetes Education Foundation.
“Ms. Heidtmann’s energetic attitude and philosophy regarding healthy lifestyle choices fits in perfectly with CAP’s mission to keep our youth drug and alcohol free through healthy decision-making,” said Felicia Scocozza, CAP’s executive director. “We are thrilled to have her lead this year’s march.”
Ms. Heidtmann feels that all children are special but recognizes that they don’t always see it. “Each of us has a unique spirit, a unique energy that cannot be duplicated,” she said. “Underage drinking and drug use take away that uniqueness. If you value who you are and are comfortable in your own skin, it is a lot easier to say ‘no’ to unhealthy behaviors.”
Roanoke Avenue Elementary School Principal Tom Payton describes Ms. Heidtmann as “an amazing teacher; the kids love her. For most of them, her class is their favorite.”
Since 1983 Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Inc. (CAP), a nonprofit organization, has been providing drug and alcohol prevention, education and counseling programs for the Riverhead Central School District. CAP is best known for its two-year prevention program serving over 750 fifth and sixth graders in Pulaski Street School each year. The program, taught by community volunteers and student peer leaders, concludes with the annual Say NO to Drugs March. In 2013, CAP was awarded a five-year, $625,000 Drug-Free Communities Grant through the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to increase both community coalition capacity and environmental (community-based) prevention strategies.
Following the march, there was a brief ceremony on the steps of Pulaski Street School in which Ms. Heidtmann, along with NYS Senator Ken LaValle, District Superintendent Nancy Carney, Board of Education President Greg Meyer, and local dignitaries addressed the students and community.
After Ms. Heidtmann's address, Pulaski teacher Dee Martin noted, "That was the best CAP address ever. Samantha's and Ben Butler's Tool Box addresses were by far the best CAP speeches I've witnessed." And Ms. Martin has witnessed a lot of them.
The essay contest winners were Alyssa Warnken (5th Grade) and Samantha Sanso (6th Grade). The event concluded with a “Let’s Move” dance tribute to Ms. Heidtmann directed by Pulaski health teacher Sandra Hummer. After the ceremony, the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge #1742, once again, generously served a picnic lunch to all the students. Thank you to everyone who attended this annual event to make this a special day for the Pulaski Street School students.