Fifth graders excited about DARE classes (from March print newspaper)

Pelham+Police+Sergeant+Brian+Hendrie+teaches+during+2014.

Colonial Times file photo

Pelham Police Sergeant Brian Hendrie teaches during 2014.

5TH GRADE CLASSROOMS — Fifth graders at Colonial School get the opportunity to participate in a special program called DARE. DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.

Pelham Police Officer Brian Hendrie comes in every week to each class to work with the kids. The DARE program is based around the DARE decision-making model. The model helps students make any choice by defining, accessing, responding and evaluating (that also stands for DARE).

It’s an exciting program because Officer Hendrie plays games with the kids and brings in a stuffed mascot for DARE named Darren. Darren can be earned by answering an important question from last week’s lesson or based on an important DARE-related topic.

“I think it’s important to create an awareness of some challenges of growing up,” said Mr. Alexander Ventura, a fifth grade teacher. “This includes making healthy choices and having an understanding of our individual strengths.”

Student Juan Carlos Matos (5S) said, “I think that it’s a really cool idea. I also think it’s good that we’re doing this early.”

Are students having fun in their DARE classes?

“I like DARE because we do fun activities,” Marco Gracie (5S) said in an interview.

Jamie Burke (5S) explained she has fun and thinks “it’s good to learn about peer pressure and real-life situations.”

Most people participating in DARE think the activities they are doing are fun and important.

Noah Breskin (5S) said, “I think it’s kind of important because in the olden days they smoked a lot.”

This reporter also spoke with Officer Hendrie to get his views on teaching the program at Colonial.

Q: Do you enjoy teaching DARE?

A: Yes very much.

Q: How long have you been teaching DARE?

A: Since 2010.

Q: Do you find DARE an important program?

A: Yes, I think it helps boys and girls prepare themselves for decisions they have to make in life.

Q: Has your experience as a police officer helped you teach DARE?

A: Yes, as a police officer, I get to see this first hand.

Q: Would you improve the DARE program in any way?

A: No, I think that it’s a good program.

DARE has become a useful and effective program for students at Colonial School. And it’s not over yet. The DARE program will continue with more fun and educating activities for the fifth graders and culminates in a graduation ceremony.

This story appeared in the March print edition of the Colonial Times.