Archive for Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Fifth-graders turn ther backs on drugs

December 10, 2003

Tonganoxie Elementary School's fifth-grade classes were pumped up Friday afternoon as they renewed their commitment to shun drugs.

During the 101 students' graduation from the 2003 session of DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, the youngsters sang anti-drug songs and received recognition for their work during the 12-week course.

One student, 10-year-old Amanda Laffler, said the classes had been valuable.

"They make kids think about how drugs can really hurt you really badly," Amanda said.

And after hugging DARE instructor Deputy Connie Anderson, Amanda heaped praise on Anderson's work.

"She taught us kids in the fifth grade how we weren't supposed to do drugs, so she really is special because she did that," Amanda said.

During the ceremony, Amanda and other students heard advice from several officials gathered in the TES gym.

"I'm very, very proud of you," TES Principal Jerry Daskoski told the students.

He noted the students had worked hard at TES. And he said he believes in the value of the DARE program, which is sponsored by the Leavenworth County Sheriff Department, along with support from the Tonganoxie Civic Club and Recreation Commission.

"If we sent you (to junior high) being the smartest students you could be ... but we failed to make sure you can make the right choices when it comes to something like drugs, I would feel we failed," Daskoski said.

Drugs are unlike vegetables -- which parents encourage their children to try.

"Very few people will ever walk away from that, and never do it again," he said about trying drugs.

Superintendent Richard Erickson challenged the students to serve as good role models, adding "Fifth-graders, please be careful," he said. "Please be careful about the friends you keep."

Sheriff's Deputy Connie Anderson, who has been the chief DARE instructor for Tonganoxie students for 13 years, recognized the achievements of several students. And students received graduation certificates.

Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl told the students that the decision to avoid drugs was up to them.

"It starts with each and everyone of you," he said.

Sometimes people make mistakes, which is understandable because everyone makes mistakes. He encouraged the youngsters to own up to their mistakes.

"Way to go, and keep up the good work," he said.

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