Retro Bill brings anti-drug, anti-bullying message to E'town schools

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By Kelly Cantrall

Students in the Elizabethtown area recognized Red Ribbon Week with an entertaining message to stay away from drugs and hurtful behavior.


St. James Catholic Regional School received a visit Wednesday from Retro Bill, a motivational speaker who brings an anti-drug and anti-bullying message to students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Retro Bill spent a few days this week traveling to different schools in Elizabethtown and was brought to the area by Elizabethtown Police Department. He also met with parents Wednesday. This is Red Ribbon Week, a national drug prevention campaign.

At St. James, Retro Bill, complete with a multicolored, psychedelic shirt and an Elvis-like pompadour, talked to students about staying away from the harmful effects of tobacco and the importance of treating others well.

As sixth-grader Tanner Bateman was walking out of the gym, he said the entire presentation was something to remember.

“It was entertaining and he actually gave good advice,” Bateman said.

Retro Bill included a religious message in his presentation to St. James students.

“God’s awesome because God gives you that little voice that says ‘Don’t do that,’” he said.

He told the students he, too, attended a Catholic school, and recalled even then he dreamed of working as an entertainer and motivating young people. The students could reach whatever dreams they had as well, he said.

“You just have to do the work and have good character,” he said.

He read the warnings included on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, and told the students “this stuff doesn’t belong in your body.”

“In this Red Ribbon Week, please remember that God gave you only one set of lungs,” he said.

He asked students to raise their hands if they had been bullied, and told them he experienced bullying as a child and now.

“Well, my hand’s raised because I have grownups regularly laugh at my hair and clothes,” he said.

But he said even if the students have not acted like they should, they can change their ways going forward.

“Today I am going to use my ... metaphorical eraser through my actions, my words and good deeds,” he asked the students to chant back to him.

Fifth-grader Joseph Musante said he felt the presentation gave him words to consider.

“It was good advice and it’s life advice,” Musante said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@