TOLEDO (WTOL) - Community members packed the Whitmer High School stadium for a reason other than football.

The district hosted its 29th annual Candlelight Walk, which encourages its students to be drug free. Many high school students in particular, felt a strong connection to the event.

“Well I’ve come to the Candlelight Walk a couple of times. I love the idea of promoting drug tobacco and alcohol free communities and at our schools. And I think it’s a really important thing to focus on especially when you’re younger and more at risk,” said Witmer student Sasha Franklin.

Students and their parents took a pledge to say no to drugs and alcohol and walked out of the stadium as a symbol of holding their promise. Raffles and student performances were also featured.

School officials said the opioid crisis has increased the importance of events like this one in order to keep students safe.

“It’s just more and more of our kids that can go in the wrong direction. So we really want to work with our parents and support our kids and support our district,” said Neil Rochotte, Director of Student Services.

The candlelight walk is the schools kick off for all of their year-round drug prevention activities.