Cohutta Elementary's Jenny Cook Wins DARE Essay Concert

Monday, May 21, 2018 - by Mitch Talley

Having a help network, making good decisions, and being responsible are just a few lessons the DARE program has taught Jenny Cook to apply in her life.

That’s one of the things the fifth grader at Cohutta Elementary School wrote in her Drug Abuse Resistance Education essay, which was judged the best out of the hundreds written by this year’s DARE graduates from 13 elementary schools in Whitfield County.

Ms.

Cook and the 12 other essay winners from each school were honored at the 13th annual DARE recognition program held May 14 at the Dalton Convention Center, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Dalton and the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.

As first-place winner, Ms. Cook received a plaque and a $100 cash prize. Falestine Sarameh of Eastside Elementary received a plaque and $50 for second place, while a plaque and $20 went to Liberty Franks of Valley Point for third place.

Other school-level winners who were recognized during the program – with family, school officials, and Kiwanians looking on – included:

Varnell Elementary School -  Yadira Salaises

New Hope Elementary – Sirah Moore

Pleasant Grove Elementary -  Fernando Mendiola

Antioch Elementary:  Ricky Juan-Nicolas

Dawnville:  Ann Marie Smith

Dug Gap:  McKenzie Kaylor

Westside:  Trinity Franks

Beaverdale  -   Trinity Guo

Tunnel Hill  -  Kyleigh Stewart

Cedar Ridge -  Melissa Hernandez

Sheriff Scott Chitwood said that since its inception in 1989, the DARE program has reached more than 28,000 youngsters, including 1,100 this school year.

“We feel like we have touched a lot of lives,” he said. “We know the school teachers, principals - y’all are changing lives every day. Parents, grandparents, thank you. You have outstanding children, grandchildren in your families.”

He urged the students to keep the DARE promise in the years to come. “Every one of you when you wrote your essay, you pledged to stay away from drugs and alcohol,” Chitwood said. “Keep that promise. There’s consequences, and you talked about that all through your classes, so do that.”

DARE instructors Sgt. Tammy Silvers, Sgt. Darlene Crider, and Officer Nathan Center introduced this year’s winners and presented each of them with a medal and certificate.

“You are the leaders for your school,” Sgt. Silvers said. “You’re the leaders that we want to see leading your peers in the future. You made that promise to yourself, to your family, that you’re gonna stay drug-free and that you’re gonna make good choices, and they’re looking up to you now as being the winner of this essay to make sure and watching every step that you make, and they’re wanting to follow you. But you have to show them the right way, and you’ve made that commitment.

“You are what we call the cream of the crop – you’re the best of the best, and we love all of  you,” Sgt. Silvers said. “You’ve done a wonderful job on these essays, and we’re just honored to be here today and get to call you up and honor each one of you individually.  I’m telling you, these are awesome kids, and I can’t wait to see what you’re gonna bring in the future, what y’all do in the future, because we’re gonna keep up with you and see what’s going on. And I expect y’all to be good leaders in your community, in your schools and your family.”

Sgt. Crider emphasized the importance of making good decisions. “Always think through what you want to do to make that good decision,” she said, “because my students have heard me say this over and over, and I’m gonna say it again today: If you’re a good decision maker, you’ll be good.

“Things are gonna happen to you in life – yes, they are – no matter what decision you make, things are gonna come that are not gonna be great. But if you’re a good decision maker and you’re grounded and you know what you stand up for, it’s gonna be easier to deal with these hard decisions when they come along.

“So thank you for putting your hard work into this - your heart into this. Set examples as Sgt. Silvers said. Set an example for your friends – they’re watching every move you make, and they want to see you do the right thing. You may have someone watching you that you don’t know is watching  you. You don’t know everybody that’s going, ‘Hey, what are they gonna do about this? I’m gonna do what they do. If it’s good, okay, if it’s bad, oh, we’re just all in it together.’ So do something good.”


Lee Students Depart For Study Abroad Semester In U.K.

GNTC Names Semi-Finalists For 2019 GOAL Award

Adverse Childhood Experiences Screening Workshop Event Almost Sold Out


Twenty Lee University students departed for the annual United Kingdom Semester Study Abroad program. During the 12-week program, students will spend time in class at the University of Cambridge ... (click for more)

Four Georgia Northwestern Technical College students have been selected as the college’s semi-finalists for the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL), according to Dione Waddington, ... (click for more)

WTCI, the Chattanooga 2.0 Early Matters Coalition and United Way of Greater Chattanooga (UWGC) are hosting a two-day screening workshop event on Jan. 25 and 26 that will engage, educate and inspire ... (click for more)


Student Scene

Lee Students Depart For Study Abroad Semester In U.K.

Twenty Lee University students departed for the annual United Kingdom Semester Study Abroad program. During the 12-week program, students will spend time in class at the University of Cambridge and travel throughout the U.K. This year’s trip director is Dr. Randy Wood, professor of humanities and chairperson for the Department of History, Political Science, and Humanities. While ... (click for more)

GNTC Names Semi-Finalists For 2019 GOAL Award

Four Georgia Northwestern Technical College students have been selected as the college’s semi-finalists for the Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL), according to Dione Waddington, coordinator for the college’s GOAL program. Students chosen as semi-finalists for the GOAL award, showing the student’s name, county of residence, program of study, GNTC campus and nominating ... (click for more)

Breaking News

2nd Man Charged In October 2018 Murder Of Jacob Dakota Moore Of Apison

A second arrest has been made in the October 2018 murder of Jacob Dakota Moore of Apison. Authorities earlier charged Askia Witherow in the slaying. On Thursday, warrants were issued for James David Robinson, 42, charging him with one count of first-degree murder, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, four counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts ... (click for more)

Linda Damewood Killed, Another Critical, Third Injured In Shooting At Crossville

One person was killed, another critically injured and a third hurt in a shooting at Crossville on Saturday. Linda Damewood, 74, of Crossville, was dead at the scene. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Tansi Security, and Tennessee Highway Patrol units responded to 8610 Cherokee Trail at approximately 6:38 p.m. to a reported shooting. Cumberland County Sheriff’s ... (click for more)

Opinion

Senator Alexander: A Reasonable Proposal To End The Government Shutdown

A government shutdown is always the wrong idea. It is the wrong idea under President Trump, just as it was the wrong idea under President Obama. Members of Congress should first remember that when a president who has been duly elected by the people of the United States -- whatever you may think of him or her -- has a legitimate objective, it is our responsibility to do everything ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Swimming With Jim Morgan

I’ve never talked much about this – it is too close to bragging – but in my teenaged years I was a good swimmer. I loved being in the water and maybe the greatest compliment back in the day was when new UT swimming coach Ray Bussard offered me a ‘full ride’ with the Vols. Are you kidding me … by then I was into tobacco, alcohol, convertibles, and girls in angora sweaters - there ... (click for more)