75 students graduate from DARE program in Wadena
DARE is a 10-week program that focuses on sixth graders making good decisions, being responsible and being good citizens.
WADENA — A total of 75 Wadena-Deer Creek sixth-graders were recognized April 13 for successfully completing the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program during a special graduation ceremony at the middle/high school gym.
The ceremony featured comments from WDC DARE coordinator and sixth grade teacher Lori Grendahl, dean of students Norm Gallant and school resource officer and DARE instructor Nick Grabe of the Wadena Police Department. Students also shared their essays.
DARE is a 10-week program that focuses on sixth graders making good decisions, being responsible and being good citizens. The classes give the students chances to work in groups to solve problems and put on skits. At the end of DARE, students write essays on what they've learned and they present their essays in front of their classmates.
"We are so proud that our students take DARE seriously and ask good questions to prepare themselves with tools and strategies to make good life decisions!" Grendahl exclaimed.
The sixth grade teachers and officer Grabe pick four students to read their essays at the graduation ceremony. This year's essay winners were Jaxyn Kenney, Chloe Bessett, Bella Siewert and Tanner Collins.
The program also included a demonstration by Wadena County Sheriff's Office deputy Troy Wangsness and his specially trained K9 officer Nitro. Officer Grabe and Gallant agreed to "take the bite" during the demonstration, followed by Deputy Wangsness answering students' questions about Nitro.
Grabe thanked teachers, friends and families of the DARE students, the sixth graders, Super One and school staff for their support of the program.
DARE started at WDC in 1991 when it was implemented by Chief of Police Lane Waldahl. Officer Pete Resch was the first instructor and he continued as an instructor with current Chief of Police Naomi Plautz, until he passed away in 2005. Chief Plautz was the DARE instructor until being promoted in 2012. Officer Grabe has been the DARE instructor at WDC for the past 10 years.