Hyde County sixth grader wins highly competitive national Red Ribbon Week Photo Contest

HYDE COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -Jonna Williams is blazing an inspirational trail at just 12 years old.

“There could be generational change that happens because of the bravery of a sixth grader,” said Mike Wheeler, Hyde County Health Department Post Overdose Coordinator.

The Hyde County sixth grader recently competed in a national photo contest for Red Ribbon Week.

Wheeler says he encouraged Williams to enter, even though he knew it’d be competitive.

“He told me that it was to prevent people from doing drugs and I was like okay, let’s do it,” Williams said.

“I said do you want to compete with like 11 states in the country,” Wheeler said. “She’s competitive and said absolutely.”

The contest required Williams to decorate her front door, fence or mailbox with the double-looped red ribbon, to raise awareness about living drug free.

“If you do drugs, you’re not really having a good life,” Williams said. “You won’t live a fulfilled life.”

Williams had to also incorporate this year’s theme, “Be kind to your mind. Live drug free.”

Jonna went all out, but credits the unique decorations to her community, who helped with the submission.

“I was very amazed to see everybody in my front yard,” Williams said. “It was crazy.”

Williams was in a competitive region with nearly 18 million students eligible, and she won.

“When I got the call, I shouted from the rooftops,” Wheeler said.

“I was in P.E. and it’s usually so loud,” Williams said. “All I heard was give it up for the Red Ribbon Week contest winner Jonna Williams.”

Jonna winning her region as a sixth grader is special, but her family says she was also the only student to compete in the county, making them and Mattamuskeet School proud.

“I said do you realize you just spoke for your entire school in the sixth grade,” Wheeler said. “That’s incredible.”

“Definitely greater than I could’ve ever imagined it’d be,” Williams said.

Williams won an iPad and $1,000 for her school to use towards drug prevention.