Flags have long stood as a symbol of a group’s values, liberty and justice for all, for example. Imagine, then, the powerful statement made by a new flag flying above Ludlam Elementary: that the students, faculty and staff are committed to safe, healthy, drug-free living.

Presented on Oct. 24, the Red Ribbon Certified Schools flag is the culmination of a months-long application process and ultimately its recognition as a school with a year-round commitment to substance abuse prevention. The recognition is presented annually by Informed Families to schools across the country that share the same values. It’s an honor bestowed on just 78 other schools nationwide.

At the school’s flag-raising ceremony, Ludlam Elementary Principal Georgette Menocal, Ph.D., accepted the flag and recognition plaque from Informed Families President & CEO Peggy Sapp and students performed a special song written just for the occasion. Singing along with the students were South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, Vice Mayor Josh Liebman, City Manager Steve Alexander and other guests, and Alexander spoke briefly to commend the school for its efforts. Dr. Menocal thanked everyone who participated in the project.

“We are honored to be recognized as a Red Ribbon Certified School and to celebrate the commitment of the faculty, staff, parents and students who create a safe, healthy learning environment for all our students,” said Dr. Menocal. “Our commitment is strong and enduring, and we’ll proudly fly the flag to demonstrate that.”

Red Ribbon Certified Schools is a “Good Housekeeping” seal for schools who actively promote substance abuse prevention strategies year-round to families with children in elementary, middle and high school. The initiative was created by Informed Families and the National Family Partnership to change school climate by recognizing and rewarding schools for their success in building teams to keep kids safe, healthy and drug free, while improving academic performance and keeping parents and the community engaged.  The program is open to all elementary, middle and high schools. Applicants receive support and tutorials to complete the online application process. Certified schools receive a flag and plaque to display their designation. Awardees remain certified for three years. Informed Families is the only agency that offers Red Ribbon School Certification. More information about certification is available at


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