Students graduate from DARE
County official issues challenge
Friday afternoon, 99 fifth-grade DARE students graduated at Tonganoxie Elementary School.
DARE, which stands for drug abuse resistance education, helps teach children the life skills they need to avoid involvement with drugs, gangs, and violence.
Connie Anderson, a deputy with the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office, teaches the DARE program in Tonganoxie.
Tonganoxie Superintendent Richard Erickson thanked Anderson for her commitment to the DARE program, and issued a challenge to the students.
"Dare to be the best that you can be by avoiding drugs and alcohol," Erickson said.
And Erickson reminded the children to choose their friends wisely.
"It's much easier to avoid the use of drugs and alcohol if you find friends who do not use drugs and alcohol," he said.
Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl called the students "leaders of tomorrow," and said to the students:
"Leadership can't wait. You cannot wait until tomorrow to be leaders. The leadership role is something that you have to fill right now not tomorrow."
Kohl walked to the students and pointed to many of them, saying, "How can I pick out which ones are leaders? Every single one of you has to be leaders."
Leadership doesn't require that a person lead a group of others, he said.
"You have to be leaders of yourself, you have to make decisions for yourself and if you make a wrong decision you have to accept responsibility for it so it's important that you be a leader every second of every day."
After four students, Jamie Everett, Emily Gripka, Chelsea Calovich and Paul Lee, read their DARE essays, Anderson announced that Jamie Everett's essay would be sent to the state competition.
Anderson thanked the fifth-grade teachers Cindy Korb, Cheta Mark, Dianne Mahoney and Lyn Smith, for allowing her to take the classroom time to teach DARE.
The DARE curriculum consists of 17 lessons along with a graduation ceremony.
Anderson said that with the exception of one year, DARE has been taught in Tonganoxie since 1991. She has been teaching it here since 1992.
The class work is basic, she said.
"The lessons consist of skills that young people of any age can adapt to their existence," Anderson said.