Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison presents certificates to the latest D.A.R.E. essay winners, fifth graders from the five Great Bend elementary schools, as their teachers watch during the Great Bend City Council meeting Monday night.
The Great Bend Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Eduction program joined forces with city officials at Monday night’s City Council meeting to recognize 10 fifth-grade students for writing outstanding essays as a part of the 2016 D.A.R.E. classes.
Between the kids, their teachers and their parents, the council chambers was packed. Mayor Mike Allison praised the “family-like” nature of the program that encourages teacher and parental involvement with the students.
“This is an awe-inspiring site,” said Great Bend Police Department school liaison officer Paul Millard. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Honored with a “night on the town” were:
- Eisenhower Elementary School: Gwen Mcdonald’s class, top essay Marley Harris and Runner up River Puig-Pafford; and Barb Thoren’s class, top essay Rylan Crawford and Runner up Mckenzie Hinton.
- Jefferson Elementary School: Elisabeth Gafford’s class, top essay Sydney Mattison and Runner up Ayanna Moriasi; and Leann Miller’s class, top essay Eliana Jackson and Runner up Georgia Schwager.
- Lincoln Elementary School: Jamie Byer’s class, top essay Maddie Stoskopf and Runner up Ethan Hammeke; and Karen Smith’s class, top essay Isaac Leyva and runner up Taylour Yoder.
- Park Elementary School: Nina Burton’s class, top essay Sophie Werth and runner up Clarissa Bashor; and Signe Cook’s class, top essay Taiya Clanton and runner up Eve Ramirez.
- Riley Elementary School: Kelsey Scheuerman’s class, top essay Norma Blair and runner up Hector Dominguez; and Kaci Kilgore’s class, top essay Melanie Gonzalez-Rojas and runner up Justin Leyva.
Only the winners and their teachers were present Monday evening at the meeting.
As a part of the contest, students and their teachers were escorted and treated to dinner at Gambino’s Pizza before receiving recognition and a certificate from Allison.
One requirement of the 14-week D.A.R.E. curriculum is for each student to write an essay explaining what they have learned and why they have decided to make wise decisions concerning friendships, alcohol and drug use, Davis said. The student’s essays were chosen as the most outstanding essay from their respective schools that hosted the D.A.R.E. Program this past semester.
Millard said the essays that talked about staying away from drugs and alcohol, not smoking and ways to combat bullying and ideas on coping with stress.
D.A.R.E. also teaches students important lessons and encourages a healthy lifestyle that can bring personal achievement and benefit society as they grow up and become involved in their community, Millard said.
For more information on the program, call Millard at 620-793-4120.
From Great Bend Tribune
After a four-year hiatus, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office brought back the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program for Tye River and Rockfish River Elementary schools last week.
“[DARE] was one of the things citizens wanted. We planned to implement a substance abuse program. DARE was revamped to go with Virginia [Standards of Learning], so we thought it was worthwhile to launch the program in 2017,” said Sheriff David Hill.
Each school hosted a DARE graduation ceremony for completing the 10-week program on Dec. 5.
Deputy Robert Shafer used DARE to teach first- and fifth-graders at Tye River and fifth-graders at Rockfish River about peer pressure, bullying, the health and side effects of alcohol and tobacco use as well as how to communicate effectively.
“[DARE] provides a lot of support for our students in terms of providing drug education awareness and also it follows up with our bullying awareness program. It also provides some of our counseling standards that are required by the state,” Tye River Assistant Principal Carolyn Ware said.
Shafer, along with Hill and Chief Deputy Larry Cindrick, were present at the graduations as well as parents and school staff members. Shafer, Hill and Cindrick called each student’s name and provided a certificate, which was passed out in class later in the day.
“It’s great to see [the students] truly learned quite a bit from [Shafer], and they’ll be able to apply what they learned in their life,” Hill said.
Students had to write a DARE essay about what they had learned from the program. The students who had the top three selected essays received a DARE lion, the program’s mascot, and the overall winner received a DARE plaque.
“[The students] were eager to write that essay and put out the information they learned. All of them have done a wonderful job,” Shafer said.
Both Ware and Rockfish River Principal Kim Candler were excited to have DARE in their schools again.
“The deputy did an outstanding job of covering strategies with our students during this 10-week program this year. The instructor was well organized, and the Nelson County Sheriff's Department worked well in planning for the implementation with our school,” Candler said in an email.
Ware said students learned about more than just how to resist drugs and other substances.
“I would definitely say that [the students] learned a lot more than they knew before about drug resistance, how to say no to drugs and how to avoid getting into peer pressure across all boards, not just with drugs but in a lot of social situations,” Ware said.
Having the program in the elementary schools provides a better chance to influence the students, Ware said.
“When we can educate them at this age and give them the tools on how to navigate those social situations and conflicts, we can prepare them for middle school where they need to navigate larger groups and situations. We are helping them build a platform where they’re going to stand on their own two feet,” Ware said.
Through the program, Shafer said he was able to develop trust with the students and the schools.
“Being a part of their lives and building that trust with them. They know they can come to any of us at any point, especially me. They trust me enough that they know they can come to me and talk to me,” Shafer said.
Shafer said being the teacher of the program was “probably one of the best things” he has been a part of.
“We just had graduation, and I miss them already. It’s such a pleasure seeing these kids retain this knowledge and being able to ask them questions about it. I can’t even explain it. It’s a wonderful thing, it really is,” Shafer said.