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D.A.R.E.-ing to be drug free

By Staff | Apr 20, 2011

Five Estherville Lincoln Central fifth-grade classes received their DARE diplomas Tuesday at Roosevelt Auditorium. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

When you’re in fifth grade, what your friends think of you can mean a lot.

When you’re in fifth grade, friends can start to put a lot of pressure on you.

When you’re in fifth grade, you might start making decisions you could regret later.

On Tuesday, five, fifth-grade Estherville Lincoln Central Middle School classes graduated from the DARE program. Drug Abuse Resistance Education teaches kids how to make good choices about not using drugs and alcohol as well as how to resist peer pressure to make bad choices about other things.

Officer Nate Dunlavy, who has been the DARE education liaison officer for several years, thanked parents, teachers and students for their efforts that culminated in Tuesday’s graduation.

“I have a great group of fifth-grade teachers,” Dunlavy said.

His thanks really focused on the students, though.

“You’re what make this part of my job very, very enjoyable,” Dunlavy told the students.

After a moment of silence in memory of officers and soldiers who had recently fallen in the line of duty, everyone got a chance to pet Max, the K-9 officer, and to receive their DARE diplomas. Then K-9 handler officer Matt Reineke talked about Max and why he’s so special.

Max, who was born in the Czech Republic, is a 4 1/2-year-old German Shepherd who had four months of training before he met Reineke who trained with him for another two weeks. Max has already paid for himself three times in drug seizures which include 11 pounds of marijuana and a quarter pound of crystal meth. Reineke also demonstrated Max’s remarkable search capabilities.

Special awards went to DARE essay winners Aaron Kintzle, Jossie Hanson, Emily Shryock, Devyn Anderson and Betsy Hernandez.