VALPARAISO | Eager students gathered Monday outside the Porter County Administration Center called out what they wanted to be when they grow up.
Many said teacher, others said police officer, singer, actress and so on.
The students' futures were the focal point of Porter County's 20th Red Ribbon Week ceremony -- a local part of a national drug prevention campaign.
Porter County Red Ribbon Chairperson Jackie Sterling told the fourth-graders from Myers Elementary School that they each possess potential to do great things in life, but the decision to take drugs can derail those plans.
The students, many of whom wore red ribbons, also heard from Porter County Sheriff David Lain and Dr. Mann Spitler, who spoke to the students about the overdose death of his daughter, Manda.
The rally outside the county offices was capped with the annual release of red balloons. The balloons carry a message and the initials of participating students. A small prize is awarded to the student whose balloon is found the farthest from Valparaiso.
Sterling said one of last year's balloons was found by a family who lives 46 miles east of Cincinnati.