The Perry Police Department saluted the 98 Perry Elementary School and six St. Patrick’s Catholic School fifth graders who graduated from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) classes at the Perry Performing Arts Center Monday.
PES Dean of Students Ned Menke addressed the students, noting that every day they would face many decisions, and the number of choices they must make will increase as they grow older.
“A Google search will show you that adults make about 35,000 choices each day while small children make about 3,000 choices each day,” Menke said. “Many of these have relatively little consequence to them and are harmless. Our lives are largely filled with harmless choices … unfortunately, there are other, more important choices we make that will shape our future, for better or for worse.”
That, Menke said, was the value of the D.A.R.E. program. He noted students who complete the courses learn how to define problems and challenge opportunities, to assess their choices and to respond and make an informed choice after gathering facts and information and, finally, how to evaluate those decisions.
Menke urged students to become involved in extra-curricular activities of any kind. He pointed to statistical studies which show the incidence of drug or alcohol abuse is greatly reduced by involvement in at least one such activity, whether it be sports, academics, music, arts or any number of opportunities.
All students were required to write an essay about what they had learned, with one winner chosen from each of the six classrooms. Each winner received a special award and stuffed D.A.R.E. lion.
Sections of each winning essay were read by D.A.R.E. instructor and School Resource Officer Pat Jans, by Detective Sergeant Jerome Hill, Chief of Police Eric Vaughn and Sergeant Jim Archer.
Chosen as winners were Elizabeth Garcia (Mr. Cline’s class), Kyla McKenzie (Miss Gast), Andres Viveros (Miss Molitor), Douglas Fulton (Mrs. Miner), Lisbeth Sanchez (Mrs. Adair) and Angel Mendoza (Miss Diaz, St. Patrick’s Catholic School).
All students received graduation certificates and small gifts and mementos from Menke, PES Assistant Principal Joel Martin, Officer Lourdes Clay, Jans, Hill, Archer and Vaughn.
The list of graduates are, Mr. Cline: Amy Aguirre-Eugenio, Mirna Alvargenga, Abigail Cresencio, Angel Estrada, Demetrius Ferretti, Elizabeth Garcia, Christia Garrett, Christian Garrido, Edlyn Gavidia, Natalie Guardado, Kael Iles, Alexa Medina, Maecyn Meri, David Muro, Jacob Parnell, Roberto Rodriguez, Chloe Shores-Irvin, Jackson Tierney, Joanno Ubaldo and Katherine Vasquez.
Miss Gast: Brayden Andorf, Paolo Barranco, Biniam Berhe, Logan Castillo, Jose Chavez, Nepthale Gonzalez, Chad Gray, Damian Guzman, Tristen Hibbert, Candace Holsington, Autumn Love, Robbie Mason, Callie McFarland, Kyla McKenzie, Rachel Ndayishimye, Lydia Olejniczak, Andrew Perez, Hailey Peterson, Amaya Sexton, Anthony Tlaceca, Aleah Utterback and Gianluca Velasco.
Miss Molitor: Rhylan Agan, Mamyint Aye, Julian Ferreris, Pauline Galindo, Samantha Galivan, Kaylee Hay, Gavin Hegstrom, Kai Hemphill, Emily Hernandez, Juan Hernandez, Trinity Hochstetler, Trevor Kirchner, Alona Moreland, Elizabeth Niyogushima, Sarai Ramos, Anthony Richardson, Andres Viveros and Kathryn West.
Mrs. Miner: Dayana Afandor, Genesis Bonilla, Fatima Cardenas, Jonathan Castaneda, Anthony Chavez, Jessica Crus, Anh Doan, Gabriela Estrada, Alberto Flores-Silva, Douglas Fulton, Alexis Funez, Caden Heck, Jonathan Kniffin, Madison Megarit, Yamilet Ortega, Maberic Reyes, Jeraldine Romero and David Soto-Rojas.
Mrs. Adair: Bryce Anliker, Alejandro Bauelos, Kaylee Brock, Ashley Cerna, Jonathan Chavez, Jefry Gonzalez, Julian Guzman, Abigail Howard, Kevin Juarez-Perez, Trevor Kilts, Ronald Mapes, Milton Navarrete, Carly Pavlica, Katelynn Pentico, Parker Pierce, Alexis Reyes-Guevara, Lisbeth Sanchez, Aaron Santacruz, Martha Turrado and Diana Canales-Garcia.
Miss Diaz (St. Patrick’s): Ismael Ferman-Nava, Kyle Hernandez, Rubi Hernandez, Gannon Meis, Angel Mendoza and Alejandra Ruiz.