This school year, Kearney fifth-graders have accepted the challenge to stay away from drugs and violence – through the district’s new Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.
The program was implemented at the start of the school year and has been incorporated into the regular curriculum, thus, every fifth-grader will participate, said Adam Kirkland, school resource officer.
The first to take the challenge, last semester, were students at Hawthorne and Dogwood elementary schools. The Southview and Kearney Elementary fifth-graders are up next this semester.
“For the program, I meet with the fifth-graders for 10 weeks,” Kirkland said. “They have a workbook they have to fill out each week with situations pertaining to that week’s lesson. They also are required to write a D.A.R.E. essay toward the end of the program about what they learned.”
All the hard work will pay off – with a D.A.R.E. graduation in the spring.
“The students receive a D.A.R.E. certificate,” Kirkland said. “And, hopefully, I will get donations to get them all D.A.R.E. graduate T-shirts.”
And while it’s still in the early stages of development, Kirkland understands how vital the D.A.R.E. program is to the district. He would like to add more activities – as well as expand it to include seventh-graders down the road.
“D.A.R.E. teaches kids the importance of good decision-making, how to be responsible for their decisions and how to become a good citizen in their community,” he said.