We congratulate Estherville Lincoln Central fifth-graders on taking a pledge to stay away from drugs and alcohol. They will graduate from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) 5:30 p.m. Friday at Roosevelt Auditorium.
Following is a letter from a mutual friend.
To Estherville Lincoln Central fifth-graders
This is meant for you and you only - because right now, you are the only ones who really matter.
As you know, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, you will graduate from the D.A.R.E. program at Roosevelt Auditorium.
So should you think this is a big deal?
Yes you should. Because it is.
When you graduate from D.A.R.E., you are promising a lot of other people - including yourself - that you will stay away from cigarettes, tobacco, drugs and bullying kids smaller than yourself.
So why should you stay away from these things?
Well, it's because they can make you unhealthy. Probably even worse, they can get you in trouble with me.
When I'm riding around with my buddy Matt, I see a lot of things that bother me. I see people drinking and driving, and when we stop them to find out what's going on, a lot of times they act really dumb. They act so dumb, you'd laugh at them.
I even see people who try to hide drugs in their car. Boy, is that funny. They stick them in really strange places, but I still find them. Because that's my job.
What really makes me sad, though, is when I see what happens to kids like you when some parents do stupid things. Like fight with each other and sometimes they even hit each other. And sometimes it's even worse than that.
The worst thing though is when some parents drink too much or do drugs so they don't have enough money to feed you guys. That makes me sad for you but it makes me mad at parents.
The main thing I want you to remember though when you come up to pet me when you graduate Tuesday night is that you have a choice to live a good life. You have a choice to say no to drugs and alcohol. It doesn't matter if you're big or small, skinny or a little heavy, or rich or poor. You have the freedom to make good choices and to become whatever you want to be.
So please, remember that.