The Great Bend Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Eduction program joined forces with local businesses at Monday night’s City Council meeting to recognize 12 fifth-grade students for writing outstanding essays as a part of their D.A.R.E. classes.
This was twice as many students as are normally honored, Mayor Mike Allison said. Between the kids, their teachers and their parents, the council chambers was packed.
“This is an awe-inspiring site,” said Great Bend Police Department D.A.R.E. officer Jefferson Davis. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. These are the cream-of-the-crop kids.”
Honored with a “night on the town” were: Lincoln Elementary School students and their teachers, Tia Mitchell and Jamie Byers, and Ellyse Ellis and Karen Smith; Eisenhower Elementary School students and their teachers, Abby Muth and Kacie Kilgore, and Victoria Gonzalez and Jode Schumacher; Jefferson School students and their teachers, Allyson Kaiser and Dorthy Hertel, and Brianna Brand and Leann Miller; Riley School students their teachers, Esperanza Esparza and Jessica Hacker, Kenneth Panto and Jackie Peters, and Gabriella Reyes and Kelsie Scheuerman; Park School students and their teachers, Angel Razo and Brock Funke and Josue Arteaga and Amanda Wyatt; and Central Kansas Christian Academy student and teacher, Tessa Fry and Lisa Beckwith.
Davis read excerpts from the essays that talked about staying away from drugs and alcohol, not smoking and ways to combat bullying and ideas on coping with stress.
As a part of the contest, students and their teachers were escorted in a motor home provided by Harper Camperland and treated to dinner at Gambino’s Pizza sponsored by Cuna Mutual Retirement Solutions before receiving recognition and an award from Mayor Mike Allison.
Davis is assisted by fellow GBPD officer Jacob Harlow.
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.
Davis said 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. “I am excited to watch them become leaders.”
The essay winners will also be treated to an airplane ride sponsored by the Great Planes Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1134 in conjunction with the Young Eagle’s Program in May.
For more information on the program, call Davis at 620-793-4120.