High School Role Models Help With D.A.R.E.’s Message

As D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) classes in Brownstown, Crothersville, Freetown, Lutheran Central, and Medora wind down it was time for D.A.R.E. officers Bob Lucas and Tom Wright to bring some special visitors for the fifth grade students to ask questions about life in middle and high school and how important DARE has been to them.

Four Brownstown Central seniors Fayeann Hurley, Kara Roberts, Savannah Stahl, and Whitney Tormoehlen visited the fifth graders of Brownstown Elementary School on Tuesday, Oct. 28, with Officer Wright.

They answered questions of what it was like to move on to sixth grade at Brownstown Middle School and then on to high school. They spoke of having been approached and offered cigarette or went to a party where alcohol appeared. They spoke of how they chose to say “No” and leave.

Tormoehlen said some of these that offered were friends and she told the students, “You may like your friends but you may not like their choices.” She went on to say that some times when offered a cigarette she would respond with, “No thanks. I’m not a fan of cancer.”

They all spoke of how they were involved in activities in both school and church which allowed them to stay busy away from trouble.

On Thursday, Oct. 29, Wright picked up BCHS seniors Victoria Disque and Brittany Wehmiller, Lucas picked up Crothersville High School juniors Chase Ackeret and Kylie Hensley and they met up with Medora High seniors Rusty Blaker and Brooke Davidson at Medora Elementary. There they spoke to Loris Hubbard’s fifth grade class.

The Role Models then visited Theresa Rouse’s Freetown Elementary fifth grade class before finishing at Crothersville where they visited with Richard Caldwell’s and Cindy Rider’s fifth grade classes.

The Role Models spoke of how friendships changed over the years, losing old ones and gaining new ones, as their interests changed. Disque said, “You surround yourself with friends who like the same things you do then it’s easy to stay away from drugs.” She went on to say, “You have to choose your friends carefully.”

Ackeret said he’s had to make decisions on who his friends were as they would change and drift apart. Sports has been very important to Ackert who plans to go to college in a couple of years. He doesn’t want cigarettes to slow him down or a drug or alcohol arrest to alter where he wants to go or affect scholarships for which he might be eligible.

Disque spoke of a family member who had surgery for cancer but continued to smoke and later died of lung cancer. She said, “They call cigarettes cancer sticks for reason.”

D.A.R.E. has been in the Brownstown, Crothersville, and Medora School systems since 1992 when then Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy Matt Persinger and Chief Deputy Bob Thompson started teaching it under the direction of then Sheriff Herschel Baughman. Deputy Lou Coreya took over until he retired in 2004. Deputy Darin Downs and Brownstown Officer Steve Scarlett took over with Wright replacing Scarlett in 2005 and teaching the Brownstown Elementary classes and Sheriff’s detective Lucas taking over for Downs in 2006 and teaching at Crothersville, Freetown, Lutheran Central, and Medora. The officers spend about an hour in each class for nine weeks teaching the D.A.R.E. America lessons that were first taught in California schools in 1983.

Seymour Police Officers Tim Toborg and Bill Smith started teaching in the Seymour School system in 2000. Toborg was joined recently by Jennifer Johnson to teach nearly 500 students in the Seymour area.

Brownstown, Freetown, Lutheran Central, and Medora will hold a combined D.A.R.E. Graduation at the Brownstown Central High School auditorium on Tuesday, Nov. 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Crothersville will hold their graduation at the school cafetorium on Thursday, Nov. 13, beginning at 1:15 p.m. At both graduations certificates will be handed out and the classroom essay winners will read their essays.