D.A.R.E graduates recognized at Washington Elementary

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By Jessie Wagoner


McPHERSON—Fifth-grade students at Washington Elementary School were recognized with a D.A.R.E graduation ceremony on Friday. The group of dedicated students completed the multi-week D.A.R.E program led by McPherson Police Officer Temri Vogt.

The students’ families were present for the ceremony, where they received their completion certificate. Vogt expressed to the families how much she enjoyed working with the students and reviewed some of the important topics they covered throughout the class.

“D.A.R.E doesn’t just stand for Drug Abuse Resistance Education,” Vogt explained. “We have a different acronym we learned that is ‘Define, Assess, Respond and Evaluate.’ This is basically how they are going to handle problems or challenges that they are faced with every day.”

D.A.R.E teaches the students how to work through problems or challenges in a healthy way. There are lessons about drugs, alcohol and vaping and the risks and consequences associated with those. Communication and how to handle stress are also large components of the program.

“I liked the lessons about vaping and how to talk to people,” Cyler Goebel, graduate from Mrs. Houston’s class, said. “We should talk clearly and say what we mean but be respectful when we say it.”

Vogt explained the course also focused on bullying, how to accurately report something and how to be a good citizen. They also discussed different help networks and all of the students took an anti-bullying pledge.

“We learned about bullying, cyberbullying, alcohol and drugs, saying no and we learned about the difference between tattling and telling,” Elsie Newsome, graduate from Mrs. Rausch’s class, said. “I think it will help me later if I’m having a hard time.”

D.A.R.E has evolved tremendously over the years and is now focused on providing students with the skills for recognizing and resisting social pressures to experiment with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, to help students develop high self-esteem, to teach positive alternatives to drug use and violence and to develop skills in risk assessment, decision making and conflict resolution. The program also encourages the development of student interpersonal and communication skills.

Following the ceremony, the students enjoyed cookies and punch with their classmates and family members.

“Congratulations, fifth graders,” Vogt said. “You should be feeling so proud. You did it, and I am proud of you.”