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Students graduate from DARE at Eisenhower School
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This 5th grader in DARE class is surprised at the amount of amount of money it would cost to smoke for a year at one pack per day at $5. The money is heavy, too. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

After 12 weeks of lessons, 46 Eisenhower 5th graders graduated from Drug Abuse Resistance Education or DARE classes on Monday. All 5th graders in Great Bend attend DARE and the Lincoln ceremony will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 and at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 at Jefferson.
“Overall in DARE, we teach how to make healthy responsible decisions and give them strategies,” said DARE Officer Brian Dougherty. “We teach what to do if they are bullied, if they see people being bullied and the importance of good friends.
Dougherty said sometimes the kids pull him aside and tell him problems that they have had.
He has been teaching DARE since 2003 with a couple of year breaks. Besides Brian Dougherty, the DARE officers are Jefferson Davis and Jacob Harlow.
The program also focuses on drug, alcohol and tobacco resistance.
“I enjoy dealing with the kids,” said Dougherty. “All of them are a little different. The kids change like everyone else.”
Each one of the students received a black DARE T-shirt and a bag filled with trinkets. After the graduation ceremony was over, they enjoyed cookies and pop.
The student moderator thanked everyone for attending. All of the students had written an essay on what they had learned during this time period.
The winners of the essay contest received a special dinner at a local restaurant with the DARE officers and the teachers. They will also read their essays to the city council.
In their essays, the students spoke of bullies and how to deal with them. They learned that tattling is when one wants to get someone else in trouble, but telling is when they want to help the other person.
Another girl said she enjoyed acting in the real-life situations. Furthermore, the students learned that not only does smoking cost a  huge amount of money, it also costs in upper respiratory infections and problems.
As each graduate passed across the stage to receive their certificate, it was announced what that child wanted to be when they grew up and what they had learned from DARE.
The students wanted careers ranging from singing to police officer to florist to veterinarian. They also spoke of with what they had learned in DARE.
Dougherty ended the program saying, “I’ve very proud of you. I gave you a pre-test and a post-test. You will have future tests when someone offers you a drug. If you can resist that, you’ll pass that test. These kids are great.”