About 90 Iola fifth-graders were given a different take on their ABCs Tuesday evening.
“Attitude, behavior and character are the ABCs of success,” said Dan Meers, who has been the Kansas City Chiefs’ mascot, K.C. Wolf, the past 21 years.
The students congregated at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center for Drug Abuse Resistance Education graduation ceremonies.
Meers told the kids they decided their attitude every day and “those who are successful have a positive attitude.”
He used a buzzard and a bee to show the differences in behavior.
“Buzzards look for road kill, stuff that isn’t very good, while bees look for sweet stuff,” Meers said. “Learn to look for the best and treat others as you want to be treated.
“Those who succeed are more concerned with character than reputation. My mom and dad told me that if you take care of your character, your reputation will take care of itself. Character really is who you are when no one is watching you.”
Meers also encouraged the students to pick friends “who will be a good influence on your life. Bad company corrupts good character. If you make good choices, good things are going to happen to you.”
He concluded by telling the students: “Life is like a coin. You can spend it as you like, but you can spend it only once.”
STUDENTS FROM each of USD 257’s fifth-grade classes read winning essays, a requirement of DARE classes. They were Christopher White, Alex Morrison, Chloe Wilson, Madison Carlin and Zach Cokely, who had assistance in a dramatic reading from Ethan Holloway.
Other students scrambled to the stage to dance the “DARE dance” with Mike Ford, Iola police officer who for years has taught DARE classes.
City Administrator Judy Brigham told the students she lost friends and classmates to drugs and alcohol, “when I was growing up in the 1970s before DARE classes were offered in schools.”
“If what you learned in DARE helps one person to avoid temptations of drugs, alcohol or bad decisions, you’re a hero in my eyes,” Brigham said. “Now, put what you have learned to work and make the world a better place.”
Reading their essays before the crowd filling the Bowlus Center auditorium takes courage, Chief of Police Jared Warner told the five essay winners.
“Remember, when you face peer pressure you’ve had the courage to read your essays in front of your peers,” he said, and admonished all of the others to have the same courage.
The essays outlined the harm that comes from drug, alcohol and tobacco use and each ended with an individual pledge that the student would be steadfast in resisting temptations.