For nearly 30 years, the Sidney Central School District has participated in the D.A.R.E. Program. This past Tuesday, the school maintained that tradition and held its annual graduation ceremony for the fifth-grade class.
Fifty-seven students graduated from the program during the ceremony, which was led by Sidney Police Department Sargent Jan Gorshack.
Gorshack, who teaches the 13-week course, completed his 18th year of doing so. Gorshack meets with each of Sidney’s four fifth-grade classes once a week for 45 minutes.
“This is a blast,” he said. “I enjoy it. When you work with kids each day, how can you not enjoy it.”
Founded in 1983, D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a program designed to give kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs and violence, according to the organization’s website. The program, which is in 75 percent of classrooms in the United States and in more than 43 countries around the world, is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons teaching kids how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.
Sidney was the first school in New York to get involved with the D.A.R.E. program, which still goes by its original principles, but also focuses on decision making, bullying, dealing with stress. Gorshack said there is a lot of work with decision making, and how to work through making decisions and understanding consequences.
The focus is a heavier on tobacco and alcohol use, Gorshack said. Though they still discuss other drugs, it’s not as in-depth as the tobacco and drinking.
“Most of the times, that’s what they see and what they are going to deal with,” Gorshack said.
During the graduation, each class had one student read their essay and the class also performed a skit before receiving their certificate from their teacher, Gorshack and Sidney Mayor Andrew Matviak. Kate Moshier, an assistant to Senator James L. Seward, was also on hand to give students certificates from Senator Seward.
In her essay, Savannah Baldwin noted she learned she can just say no to something she didn’t want to do. She wrote:
“All kids can say no to something they don’t want to do. Or, you can make an excuse that you have to do something else. For example, if a kid asks you to smoke, you can simply say no or make up an excuse, like ‘I have a dentist appointment tomorrow.’”
Christopher Prentice wrote he will practice what he learned in the D.A.R.E. program during his own time.
“For example, somebody I know was doing verbal bullying to me. I stood up straight and said to stop. I then walked away and the next day, he didn’t bother me again.”
Anthony Morris wrote that the lessons learned in the program go beyond the 13 weeks.
“In D.A.R.E., we have learned how to make good choices. They are not just (ones) you should know while you are in D.A.R.E., they are lifelong skills that you (have) the capability to use every day.”
Kaitlin Bookhout noted the skills she learned in the program will hopefully help her help others.
“I plan to use what I have learned in D.A.R.E. by teaching it to other people. Hopefully, this will make the world a safer place. I will also use D.A.R.E. by using the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model. This will help me make better choices that can keep me healthy and safe. This maybe will keep others safe, too. I have learned in D.A.R.E. to keep everyone, including myself, safe.”
Sidney fourth graders were also on hand watching the ceremony and Gorshack noted they would be the next group to go through the program and be in this position next year.
From Sidney Central School District
On November 28, Paulding County D.A.R.E. program held its graduation for 5th graders of Antwerp Elementary. Graduation is a time for students to think back on what they have learned in D.A.R.E. and time to reward the kids for completing the 12-week program. At the end of the program, each student writes an essay. The top two essays are picked and the winners are announced during D.A.R.E. graduation. Deputy Mendez said the two essays winners were Madisyn Peters and Drew Eaken. “Every 5th grader did an amazing job on their essays and it’s because of their essays, I know they are ready to make good choices,” says Deputy Mendez.
Each student received a certificate, a medal and a D.A.R.E. t-shirt for completing the program. Donuts and cookies were provided and after the graduation ceremony they explored a police cruiser.
Below are two essays written by D.A.R.E. participants:
by Madisyn Peters
Have you ever wanted to take a risk and thought about the good and bad consequences? Then congratulations! You are using the D.D.M.M. In our fifth grade year, we have shared a new and exciting experience, we had D.A.R.E.! D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It is a new program for fifth graders.
In D.A.R.E., we learn how to make responsible choices, stay safe, and handle difficult situations in the future. In D.A.R.E,, we have learned how to handle stress, bullying, peer pressure, and good communication. When you or a friend are being bullied you may think there is no possible way to resolve the conflict, but there is! We have learned how to handle difficult situations by writing an anonymous note to a help network or asking a trusted adult for advice or help. A lot of our lessons were about making responsible choices. Not all of our lessons were solely about responsibility, but everything that we learned has lead to responsible choices and staying safe.
In D.A.R.E., we learned a lot about how to stay away from drugs and alcohol. We learned that alcohol can slow down the brain and body, resulting in memory loss, poor, judgement, slow reflexes, and loss of coordination, so we will try to stay away from alcohol and other chemicals that are bad for our body. A fact about drugs are they can ruin your life faster than anything else. We learned about strength in numbers, avoiding the situation, and walking away. Those are only a few of the skills we learned about and have begun using this year.
People who have been in D.A.R.E. are more likely to make better choices. We learned to take medicines that doctors give us properly or it could result in medical issues in the future. I plan to use this so I can protect myself and other people. I also plan to use the peer pressure strategies to have better judgement on different choices. Using the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model, or D.D.M.M., is another strategy to stay safe so we can Define, Assess, Respond, and Evaluate.
In just a small amount of time we have learned so much. I plan to use all of these skills in the future so I can have a safer, healthier, and happier life.
by Drew Eaken
Did you know that caffeine is a drug, but it is not a bad drug. Caffeine can help you wake up in the morning, and scientist have proven you should have at least one cup of caffeine a day. D.A.R.E. helps you stay off of drugs, alcohol, and bad decisions in general. I think all grades should do D.A.R.E. because it will teach younger kids to not make bad decisions in the future. D.A.R.E. is a good program that I will plan and use in the future.
In D.A.R.E. this year, I learned that there are good drugs like caffeine and medication. There are also bad drugs like alcohol and tobacco. You should stay off bad drugs because they could affect the way you act and the way your body acts. Another thing I learned this year is that you should tell not tattle on someone.
I think D.A.R.E. is a good program for all ages every grade should do D.A.R.E. because D.A.R.E. teaches kids to stay off of drugs. Kids should not smoke under the age of 18 because smoking could mess up kids lungs under the age of 18. The same case goes with alcohol but it does not mess up your lungs it messes up your liver because your liver thinks alcohol is poison but it quickly put it into your bloodstream and you will eventually die! That is why you should not drink alcohol.
Nicotine is very addictive and it is not good for you. Smoking can cause lung cancer, gum disease, etcetera. That is why thousands of people die each year.
I’ve used D.A.R.E. before I’ve dealt with stress and bullying. Stress is awful usually I cry, hit my walls, and hide from everyone. So to deal with stress I do my hobbies. Being bullied is not fun I usually get hit, get called names and get left out. I deal with bullying by telling my teacher or parent.
In the future I plan to use D.A.R.E. all the time like not smoke and drink not a lot of alcohol. Alcohol is bad, but if you drink it responsibly you won’t have a bad time. So that is why I will not drink at all. Smoking is terrible you should never smoke because it can give you lung cancer and gum disease. That’s why I will never ever smoke.
I personally think D.A.R.E. is a great program because D.A.R.E. teaches you to stay off drugs and make good decisions. In the future I will use everything I learned to make good decisions and stay off drugs. I think that D.A.R.E. should be taught in all grades so littler kid know to stay off drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
From The West Bend News