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A first and a last for the DARE program

Sister and brother Makenzie and Mason Anderson pose with Daren the Lion after Ellsworth Middle School’s fifth-grade graduation Wednesday. Makenzie was a DARE role model while Mason won the Leadership award from Ms. Sallander’s class.6 / 9
DARE officer Steve Albarado poses with Hope Turvaville, who had the top essay, and Jack Olson, named the class leader, from Mrs. Kiefer’s class at St. Francis.7 / 9
Breann Hamilton reads her essay. She was chosen from Mr. Owen’s class.8 / 9
The fifth grade class from St. Francis with Albarado, Daren the Lion and Principal Jeanne McCoy. (Herald photos by Jason Schulte)9 / 9

Wednesday’s DARE graduation at the Ellsworth Middle School was a milestone for lots of people.

For the 110-plus fifth graders, it represented the end of a 10-week session, in which topics such as tobacco, stress, bullying, alcohol and peer pressure were discussed.

For their instructor, Pierce County Sheriff’s Officer Steve Albarado, after six years and 29 previous graduations, it was his final one after being promoted to jail lieutenant earlier this year.

Both he and the students received praise for their accomplishments.

“Now the fun is over and the job begins,” said Sheriff Nancy Hove to Albarado. “The DARE life is pretty cool. Knowing students won’t sue you and (but give) you hugs and kisses is a pretty precious thing to have.”

“The kids did a great job,” Albarado said. “It was a fun day.

“I know (being a DARE officer) is something I’ll miss, but I’m excited for my new position. Bittersweet is a good word for it.”

Wednesday’s program included a rousing version of the National Anthem by students Jolene and Shelby Schultz and speeches by Hove and Hanna Anderson, the state’s DARE youth advisor, who is a junior at Bruce High School.

Essay winners from the four fifth-grade classes read their compositions, and Albarado presented classroom leadership awards winners. The students then received their certificates, and Albarado closed the program by thanking the Ellsworth DARE role models Katelyn Kannel, Sabrina Shonkwiler, Makenzie Anderson and Alli O’Connell, all of whom are graduating this year.

“Having these students go into classrooms confirms and validates our classroom lessons,” Albarado said.

For more please read the May 21 print version of the Herald. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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