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Council honors D.A.R.E. essay winners
Program teaches kids how to fight abuse, stay away from drugs
new deh city council dare winners pic web
Pictured with Great Bend Mayor Joe Andrasek and Riley Elementary School D.A.R.E. officer Paul Leiker are the 2018 second semester D.A.R.E. essay winners from Great Bend, along with their teachers. They include: From Eisenhower Elementary, Alondra Prieto, Georgia Parks, teacher Barb Thoren, Kaelyn Patterson and Olivia Edwards; from Jefferson, teacher Nicole Taylor, Elle Anne Reed, Eliana Teri, teacher Leann Miller, Jordan Harbaugh and Grace Aumiller; and Riley, teacher Casey Hatsenbuehler, Carly Espino, Marissa Esparza, teacher Brenda Unrein, Daisy Cruz and Celeste Calzada. Not pictured are Eishenhower teacher Gwen McDonald, and Riley winners Marissa Esparza and Celeste Calzada. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 The Great Bend City Council and the Great Bend Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Eduction program Monday night recognized 12 Great Bend fifth-grade students for writing outstanding essays as a part of the 2018 second semester D.A.R.E. classes.

The kids, their teachers and their parents filled the council chambers for the presentation. Mayor Joe Andrasek complimented the program that encourages teacher and parental involvement with the students to stay away from drugs.

“This is worth the effort,” said Great Bend Police Department school liaison officer Paul Millard. He was proud of their efforts.

Honored with a “night on the town” were:   

• Eisenhower Elementary School: Gwen McDonald’s class, Alondra Prieto and Georgia Parks; and Barb Thoren’s class, Kaelyn Patterson and Olivia Edwards.

• Jefferson Elementary School: Nicole Taylor’s class, Elle Anne Reed and Eliana Teri; and Leann Miller’s class, Jordan Harbaugh and Grace Aumiller.

• Riley Elementary School: Casey Hatsenbuehler’s class, Carly Espino and Marissa Esparza, and Brenda Unrein’s class, Daisy Cruz and Celeste Calzada.

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 Andrasek.

One requirement of the 14-week D.A.R.E. curriculum is for students to write essays explaining what they have learned and why they have decided to make wise decisions concerning friendships, alcohol and drug use, Millard said. The student essays honored 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. 

The winning essays will be sent on to compete at the state level.

Millard also took time to congratulate Riley D.A.R.E. officer Paul Leiker. This marked his last year working with the program.

For more information on the program, call Millard at the GBPD, 620-793-4120.