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D.A.R.E. Graduation Held For Twenty-five Fifth Graders

The annual Arthur Grade School D.A.R.E. graduation for students in the fifth grade was held on Thursday, May 18 in the grade school gym. Arthur Police Chief Mike Goodman, Principal Andrew Peralta, and Mayor Rod Randall spoke to the class and audience members. Mrs. Emily Kauffman and Mr. Roger Punches are the fifth grade teachers. The student participants did an outstanding job with their portion of the program. Pictured here are the graduates, front row, Brianda Calvillo, Harley Stone, Miley Collins, Lilly Lisanby, Bridget Chupp, Halle Oye, and Noah Kellogg. Back row, Police Chief Mike Goodman, Cassie Olivero, Avery Sisk, Brynlee Hood, Vianney Briseno, Jennifer Plank, Ayanna Sarr, and Devyn Peeler.

“Every youngster should have the opportunity to grow up healthy, safe, secure, and equipped with the skills needed to succeed in life. There is no doubt that kids today grow up in a complex and confusing world. Through television, movies, music and most of all, their peers, our kids are exposed to drugs at a very early age. They’re our kids, …. Our future, and we want their futures to be bright, secure, healthy, and safe.”

That was just part of D.A.R.E. instructor and Police Chief Mike Goodman’s message to the 25 fifth graders who completed the Drug Abuse Resistance Education class during the graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 18 at Arthur Grade School.

The program brought to conclusion the school’s 36th class and the 25th year Chief Goodman has taught. Over 1,200 students have completed D.A.R.E. since the first class was offered in 1987.

D.A.R.E.’s primary mission is to provide children with the information and skills they need to live drug-free and violence-free lives. It establishes positive relationships between students and law enforcement, teachers, parents, and other community leaders.

Village President Rod Randall congratulated the graduating students and commended their parents and families for supporting them in their decisions to lead both drug-free and violence-free lives. He said, “Your presence here sends a strong signal to these young people that you care about their well-being now as well as when they begin making their own adult decisions in the near future.”

Randall also thanked the school district and village board for their ongoing support of this program and Chief Goodman for his continued dedication and leadership. He stated, “It is difficult to thank him enough for his time and effort–time and effort that is invaluable if it saves even one young person from a life of drug abuse and addition.”

As Goodman looked at the fifth graders for the final time he said, “I wonder…., I wonder if you will remember the commitments that you have made in this course, the promises that you will keep your bodies free from drugs and alcohol, I wonder… will you make good decisions about risky behaviors, that you will say “no”. Just remember that you are not alone. Look around you, at your classmates, your family, the school officials, and community leaders. Take strength from the fact that all these people will support you and assist you in being true to these commitments that you have made. You have the tools and support that you can rely on to be extraordinary.”

Fifth grader Brianda Calvillo opened the ceremony welcoming everyone and Lilly Lisanby led everyone in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Two students were recognized for an outstanding job with their D.A.R.E. posters. The top poster in Mr. Punches’s class was created by Brynlee Hood and in Mrs. Kauffman’s class the winning poster went to Vianney Briseno. Their posters were made into banners and proudly displayed on the fence at the Arthur Grade School.

Three students read their commitment essays: Brynlee Hood, Avery Johnson, and Bridget Chupp.

In the first lesson, the students learned that Daren the Lion, the mascot for the D.A.R.E. program, stands for courage. It often takes courage to do the right thing, when you are pressured to do something that you know is not right. Lilly Lisanby was selected this year to give Daren a forever home.

In addition to their certificates, students also received D.A.R.E. t-shirts provided by Lodge #742 of the International Order of Oddfellows and Rebekah Lodge #347 and ice cream coupons from Roselen’s.

Chief Goodman also recognized the many other businesses, in and around Arthur, for providing support for this program both financially and by allowing a venue for the display of the D.A.R.E. posters.

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