The class, which is taught for about an hour and half each week at South Central, gives the sixth grade students about twice as much time as other districts allow for the students to spend with instructor and Huron County Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Cawrse.
Cawrse teaches the fundamentals of a life free of substance abuse as part of the program. D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
He said this year’s class was “fantastic,” adding that each year gets better as he gets more comfortable in the role and as the students all get used to seeing and getting to know him at the school.
The extra time he gets to spend in the school district allows Cawrse to get to know the students on a more individualized basis, creating a more relaxed and “fun” interaction.
Most important, though, are the lessons the students come away with.
Grace Rhode, daughter of Blake and Carissa, who won the top D.A.R.E. report award, said she learned “a lot” and liked the class.
“I really enjoyed it; it was really fun,” she said. “I liked being with Officer Mitch the most because he was really funny. ... The best thing I learned was probably how to stay away from drug users.”
Rhode said if she was telling someone how they could stay away from drugs and those who use them, she said she would tell them to “just learn how to say ‘no.’”
That’s exactly what Cawrse wants students to remember.
“The lessons themselves are really awesome,” he said. “It teaches the kids responsible decision making. Kids obviously need help with making decisions; they need a model which to base their decisions off of. With the D.A.R.E. decision making model, it will help them to actually think out their decisions before they make them. So they’re not looking back thinking, ‘Oh, I wish I hadn’t done that.’ Instead, hopefully they’ll be making the right decisions every time.”
In order to get the point across and to leave a lasting impression, he encouraged the students to reflect on the consequences of each decision.
“We talked about the negative consequence and the positive consequences of all of our decisions — what are they?” Cawrse said. “And then, of course, the positive interaction with law enforcement. I know I say this every single time, but it’s so important that the interaction they have with law enforcement is on the good level. That they’re not just seeing us come into their house for issues, but they get to see me and hang out with me and get to know me as a person and see law enforcement as people.”
Gracie Berendt, Grace Rhode and Dylan Allen each were awarded the Best D.A.R.E. report in their respective classes. Earning the Most Outstanding Student awards were Noah Howell, Gabe Lykins and Debra Rusynyk.