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Hugs, kisses for Valentine’s Day

Hollywood Valentine's Day03Youth across the Tribe celebrated the most romantic holiday of the year with dances, games and plenty of sweets.

After a half day of school, Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School students quickly made their way to the Brighton Gym Feb. 6 to participate in the 8th annual S.W.A.M.P. Valentine’s Day dance.

The Family Services and Recreation departments hosted the drug-free, Boots and Pearls-themed event.

“It is just kind of a thing we came up with,” said Valerie Marone, Family Services prevention specialist. “Boot drugs out of Brighton, and pearls because it is a Valentine’s Day dance.”

The gym was decked out with red hearts, drug-free posters and a huge paper chain handmade by children with their promises to be drug free.

A chocolate fountain, candy bar, lunch buffet, disc jockey and photo booth completed the ambience.

David Carrillo and Cady Osceola were crowned the Valentine’s Day king and queen, respectively. David King was named prince and Kateri Smith was selected princess.

In addition, Laviticus Berry and Chyler Villarreal were chosen by the Recreation Department as the winners of the drug-free poster contest.

Students also enjoyed hula hoop and limbo contests and a dance-off.

“We had a super turnout,” Marone said. “We usually have a great one, but this one is probably even better than the others.”

Family Services and S.W.A.M.P., which stands for Seminoles Without Addiction Make Progress, work throughout the year to promote drug awareness and hold several activities that provide Seminole children with drug-free alternatives.

S.W.A.M.P. will hold its annual Red Ribbon Week in October with a new campaign, “I choose to be drug free because…”

“We will continue it throughout the year with all the departments and all the children,” Marone said. “And the idea is to have them write why they choose to be drug free, not to just say ‘I’m drug free.’”

Over on the Hollywood Reservation, the airnasium was decked out in pink and red hearts for a festive Valentine’s Day party. A buoyant and bouncy obstacle course and a challenging Lagoon of Doom, in which kids balanced across rolling logs, ensured a good time for Tribal youth.

The kids played the night away Feb. 12 as a disc jockey played popular tunes. A few rousing games of musical chairs tested the kids’ reflexes and cleverness as they competed for fewer and fewer chairs when the music stopped.