Strawtown Students Reflect on Learning During D.A.R.E. Graduation

Posted by Martin Cox on 1/9/2020

Strawtown Elementary Fifth Grade students had a lot to say during their D.A.R.E. Graduation today.

D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and is a program led by Officer Norm Peters of the Clarkstown Police Department.  During the graduation held in the school's cafetorium this morning, Officer Peters empowered his students to take the lead role about the instruction they learned during the program which covered the past three months.

At the very outset of the graduation, two students, Kailey Ivancich and Griffin Caprara, led the way by partnering as Mistress of Ceremony and Master of Ceremony, respectively. The two students introduced classmates who read essays and poetry.  They also introduced guest speakers that included Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann, Chief of Police Raymond McCullagh, and Strawtown Elementary Principal Martha Ryan.  Board of Education Vice President David Gosman was also in attendance for the event.

Ms. Ryan,when speaking to the students, emphasized the dangers of vaping and the health risks associated with this activity.

When Griffin Caprara introduced me in my role as Superintendent of Schools, I took the opportunity to restate key phrases and words I had heard the students share when talking about what they had learned from Officer Peters.  Those reflections included the following: make healthy choices; be high on life; keep your body healthy; make the right decisions; there are nine ways to say "no"; begin a drug free journey; we're too smart to start; there is strength in numbers; and build friendships.  I also focused on the power of the comments made by Fifth Grade Essay Reader Lyla Kelly, who when sharing with the audience her interests in playing hockey and soccer, informed the audience of students and parents that she wants to "follow her dreams."

The students, taught by classroom teachers Mr. Bennett and Mrs King, received certificates at the end of the graduation. Congratulations to our students for their accomplishments, and many thanks to Officer Norm Peters for providing instruction, guidance, and support to our students.

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