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D.A.R.E.-ing to be Drug-Free

By Staff | Apr 18, 2008

Estherville Lincoln Central fifth-graders had their D.A.R.E. graduation Thursday night. To receive their certificate, students wrote essays on why they wanted to remain free of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Estherville Lincoln Central fifth-graders took a special D.A.R.E. Thursday night as they received their certificates of completion of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

D.A.R.E. instructor Sonja Fagre, who taught D.A.R.E. while serving with the Estherville Police Department before taking a position as instructor with the Iowa Lakes Community College criminal justice program, returned this year to teach the D.A.R.E. program. She thanked Iowa Lakes Estherville campus Dean Mary Larscheid, EPD Chief Eric Milburn, and others for allowing her to share her time between the college and ELC.

It was very easy to see that Fagre’s heart is still with the D.A.R.E. program.

“There are positive alternatives to drugs,” Fagre said. She then presented medals to the top D.A.R.E. essays written by Abby Erickson, Sadie Rosenboom, Yesenio Garcia, Katie Gruhlke, and Humberto Castillo.

Jeanette Lietz, ELC physical education instructor and sixth-highest all-time Iowa girls basketball scorer when she played with the Everly Cattlefeeders, asked students to write down three things they do well and more things, if possible. She said research shows that the more things you have on your list, the less you will engage in high-risk behaviors.

D.A.R.E. essay medal winners were Abby Erickson (5-4), Sadie Rosenboom (5-3), Yesenio Garcia (5-2), Katie Gruhlke (5-1), and Humberto Castillo (overall). EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Lietz told students “natural highs last longer than artificial highs.”

She also told students to not be afraid of failure, quoting William West who said, “The greatest failure is the failure to try.”

Lietz also recalled that when Thomas Edison was asked whether he considered himself a failure after trying 1,500 times to create a light bulb before he succeeded, that Edison said he had learned 1,500 ways of not making a light bulb.

Giving a personal account of how to look failure straight in the eye and defeat it, Lietz recalled how in her sophomore year of high school her team was not supposed to beat a presumably far superior team. They did, though, and the Everly Cattlefeeders went on to win the state championship.

Lietz concluded with poem about trying. One verse said, “Once you stop trying your hardest, life is never the same.”