Older students stress education to young charges

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 25, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / December 25, 1999

HAHNVILLE – Role models can work both ways, something Darryl Honor and Carl Raymond have learned.

Recently, Honor and Raymond attended a Carver Elementary fifth-grade DARE class with teacher Darnella Patterson and DARE officer, Sgt. ArdineBoyd.

Both seniors at Hahnville High School, the 17-year-olds are active at the school, not only in athletics but in academics, too. Raymond is a receiveron the football team and active in the talented art program. Honor is arunning back and active in SADD and Interact. Raymond hopes to be adentist, while Honor plans to take up engineering.

“Education is the key to success,” Honor told his pre-teen audience. “Ilook for other positive role models as my friends.”Raymond added, “The hardest part of high school is keeping my grades up while playing sports. It’s time management.”The fifth-graders were nervous about speaking up with questions, so a DARE workbook provided sample questions, such as “How do you handle it when somebody offers you drugs?” That was a softball question for this pair of student-athletes.

“I tell them no and walk away,” Honor said.

“I simply walk away,” Raymond added.

The pair said they find their positive role-model friends from among their extra-curriculum activities. By keeping busy, either with school work oractivities such as athletics or clubs and organizations, their minds are too occupied to even consider activities which may be destructive to their futures.

“I met a lot of my friends through the school organizations,” Raymond said.

“My church choir,” Honor said of his primary source of good friends. “If Iget depressed, I always pray a lot.”Surprising answers to many accustomed to seeing them on the football field, but they see nothing odd. It’s all a part of the high schoolexperience, learning and growing and ever-mindful of the long-range effects of their short-range decisions.

Before long, the children began to relax and the questions came easier.

They asked about smoking and the difficulty of high school classwork.

They asked about sports and alcohol abuse.

Honor talked about his frequent visits to nursing home residents, while Raymond discussed his involvement in wetlands preservation. Heady stufffor our future leaders.

All this is no surprise to Sgt. Boyd, who has spent 20 years in the St.Charles Sheriff’s Office and three years with DARE. As a former detectiveof 10 years, she spent years dealing with the problem people, those who failed their own tests of life and ran afoul of the law.

In the DARE program, Boyd is usually found with a huge smile, working as she is to head off the potential problems before matters get beyond repair.

Boyd recalled the fourth-grade boy who told her, “My daddy gives me marijuana all the time.”However, working in the school every day, she forges strong bonds with the students, who see her as “Officer Friendly.” And, she said, it’srewarding to help some lonely child coping with a problem they felt uncomfortable telling their parents about.

“DARE’s a good program, providing motivation and self-esteem,” Boyd added. “You’re also their friend. They see their relatives strung out andthey don’t know what to do. Some kids tell me the only hugs they get arefrom me.”The DARE program is one very welcome to Patterson, the teacher in this particular class.

“The biggest eye-opener for me was two years ago when a fifth-grade, 11-year-old girl told me she was pregnant,” Patterson recalled.

For Boyd, though, the rewards are both immediate and, she hopes, long- term.

“I’m looking forward to the day when these kids are in high school and they come back and thank me,” she said.

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