Archive for Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Sixth-grader among six winners in state DARE essay contest

July 17, 2002

For the second time in the history of Leavenworth County's participation in a statewide anti-drug campaign, a Tonganoxie youth has won an essay contest.

Jamie Everett, who will be a sixth-grader at Tonganoxie Elementary School this fall, was notified last week that he was one of six winners in the annual DARE essay contest.

Editor's note: The following essay by Tonganoxie Elementary School student Jamie Everett was named a regional winner in the annual Drug Abuse Resistance and Education program's essay contest.

DARE

"Hey Colby, wait up," I said. "What was so important you just had to wait until after school to tell me about?" he asked. "Our DARE officer asked us to tell someone about how we feel about DARE," I replied.

How I feel about DARE

I'm glad they thought up DARE because it taught me how bad drugs are and what they can do to my life. DARE is probably my favorite class because it's fun. We act and role play, we learn interesting facts and much more, but it's also sad. Sad because 14 out of 100 seventh-grade students have tried alcohol. That is 14 too many.

What I learned

What I learned in DARE is something I'll never forget. The eight ways to say no was something I learned. Also, I learned that your friends will ask you to take drugs before a stranger will. I learned how many people do and don't take drugs. If you don't take drugs, you will be trusted and taken for who you are, not some kid who smokes or drinks. I learned that smoking does more damage than just to your lungs. Smoking marijuana can damage your brain. They told me most kids do drugs just because they want to fit in.

Why be drug-free

I want to be drug-free because I'll have a better chance of having a better life, and I'll have a better education. I also want to keep the trust of my friends to let them know I can be drug-free, and the trust of my parents to let them know I can go to parties without smoking or drinking. I like to read but if I do drugs, I wouldn't know how. If I want to be an athlete, drugs can't be in my way. If I took drugs, I wouldn't do or be anything I wanted to. My parents wouldn't trust me, my friends wouldn't trust me either. That's why I want to be drug-free.

Conclusion

"You know you make a really good point," Colby said. "Now," I asked, "what about how you feel?"

The program Drug Abuse Resistance and Education centers on bringing anti-drug messages to the county's fifth-graders. Leavenworth County sheriff's Deputy Connie Anderson delivers the message to fifth-graders during the school year.

"He's so intelligent and had his hand up all the time in my class," Anderson said.

Next month, Jamie will travel to Salina, where he and other regional winners will be honored during a meeting of the state's DARE officers.

Jamie's essay stood out among those submitted by students in Leavenworth, Atchison, Jefferson, Wyandotte, Marshall, Nemaha, Brown, Doniphan, Pottawatomie and Jackson counties. More than 132,000 students went through the DARE program statewide last year.

"He had quite a bit of competition there," Anderson said.

The 11-year-old, who is the son of Regina and Raymond Everett, is looking forward to the Aug. 1 trip to Salina, where he will be awarded a $250 U.S. savings bond. He also will participate in a family fun night that will include miniature golf, go-carts and a meal for the essay winners and their families, along with DARE officers and their families.

And Jamie will read his essay during a luncheon the following day.

He says he wrote his essay on DARE from the heart.

"I put some stuff in there that I thought was cool and that I liked about DARE," he said. "I wrote about why I don't want to do drugs so I can live a better life."

The class was one of Jamie's favorites.

"We got to role play and we had role models come in," he said. "We talked about what happens if you do take a drug."

Jamie dreams of attending the University of Kansas and playing for the Jayhawks' basketball team. His mother says he also plays football.

"He reads and writes a lot," she said. "He's a very good reader. He'll get on the computer and write stories when he's not doing anything else."

This is the second time Leavenworth County has won in the essay contest. And that winner, Andrea Korb, is from Tonganoxie, too. Korb graduated from Tonganoxie High School in May.

"It goes to show that the kids put their heart in writing those essays," Anderson said.

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