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Fostering leadership
City Council honors D.A.R.E. essay winners
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Great Bend Police Department school liaison officer Paul Millard presents Mayor Mike Allison with a certificate of appreciation for his support of the Drug Abuse Resistance Eduction program at Tuesday nights City Council meeting.

 City officials joined the Great Bend Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Eduction program at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to recognize 10 fifth-grade students for writing outstanding essays as a part of the 2017 D.A.R.E. classes.

Between the kids, their teachers and their parents, the council chambers was packed. Mayor Mike Allison praised the program that encourages teacher and parental involvement with the students.

“This is a worthwhile 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:   

• Lincoln Elementary School: Jamie Byers’s class, top essay Tamra Swinford and runner up Kate Welcher; and Karen Smith’s class, top essay Brandon Morgan and runner up Marilyn Soeken.

• Park Elementary School: Signe Cook’s class, top essay Jasmine Figuera and runner up Layla Morrison; and Darla Sainden’s class, top essay Marissa Boone and runner up Jillian Reimer.

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, 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. 

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