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Puppet show teaches kids about choices

Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / March 21, 1998

EDGARD – As a supplement to the St. John Sheriff’s Office DARE program,first-, second- and third-graders in public and private schools in St. Johnthe Baptist Parish have been learning to make the right decisions.

They have been learning this from Al and Nancy Eastman, owners of the Eddie and Company Puppet Show.

Elton Oubre, coordinator, discovered the puppet show last year and thought it would be a great for the younger students to learn to stay away from drugs and alcohol while Sgt. Mike Hoover, coordinator of the DAREprogram, targets the older kids – fifth- and eighth-graders.

“Mr. Eastman goes around to different church organizations and youthgroups,” Oubre said. “I saw a program he did last year, and I thought itwould go well with our program.

“We want to reach some of younger kids before they get into the DARE program,” Oubre added. “There are people in life that may make them makethe wrong choices, and this is just to let them know that.”The show, which includes a clown who can’t make the right choices, played by Nancy Eastman, and a puppet named Eddie who has a problem with lying, is a great way for the younger students to learn the evils of drugs, alcohol and hanging out with the wrong crowd, through their mistakes.

“We have been getting positive feedback from the kids and teachers who have been attending,” Oubre said.

In one part of the program, Ruthie the Clown (Nancy Eastman), interacts with the students by asking their advice on what she should put into her cake mix.

One student said flour, and Ruthie pulled out a flower and picked each petal off, placing it into the cake mix. She made the wrong choice.Another student suggested eggs. Ruthie threw in eggs, shell and all. Shewas then told to add some oil. And Ruthie pulled out a bottle of motor oiland poured it into the mix – all bad decisions students at West St. JohnElementary cried.

Ruthie made the final bad decision when she lit a match to bake her concoction and almost caught herself on fire.

After making her bad choices, Ruthie went into serious mode and began speaking to the students about bad choices and good choices.

“Are taking drugs and alcohol good choices?” she asked. “What aboutcheating on tests and telling lies?” West St. John Elementary students yelled choruses of “No!” at the top oftheir lungs.

“Those are bad choices we put in that cake,” Ruthie said. “If we put thebad stuff in our lives instead of the good stuff we will turn out like Ruthie’s cake.”Oubre said everyone is excited about the program, and he thinks the students learned a lot.

“The kids are very excited about the program,” Oubre said. “And they arevery interactive with the clown and Mr. Eastman.”

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