Cottle Students Celebrate Completion of DARE Program

Ninety-nine fifth-graders from the Cottle School, all dressed in DARE shirts, walked on to the school’s auditorium stage on May 25 to take part in a special celebration marking their completion of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program.

Tuckahoe Police Officer and DARE Instructor Evan Piasta led the morning ceremony, acknowledging the students’ successful participation in the program and their willingness to resist tobacco, alcohol, controlled or illegal drugs and violence.  “I know that as a parent myself, one of our biggest fears is that when our children get old enough to start making their own decisions that may affect the rest of their lives,” Officer Piasta said.

The program is co-sponsored by the Tuckahoe Union Free School District, the Tuckahoe Police Benevolent Association, the Tuckahoe PTA and The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester, Tuckahoe Inc.  Superintendent Carl Albano, Cottle Principal Lou Cuglietto, Assistant Principal Peter Kilgallen, Tuckahoe Police Department Lieutenant Andrew Zirolnik, Tuckahoe Mayor Steven Ecklond, Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita and Amy Korb, director of The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Inc., were all in attendance.

Officer Piasta, a former DARE graduate, said he enjoyed spending time with the students and was confident they had sufficiently learned the lessons of the DARE curriculum, which is to help students resist the temptation to experiment or to act out in an aggressive manner.  Students from Mrs. Cardone’s. Mr. Fusco’s, Mrs. Goracy’s, Mrs. Gorman’s and Mrs. Guiffra’s classes participated in the program.

Eight students received DARE Character Awards. They included Amiya Bah, Isabella DeFabbia, James Denning, Nina Khrapunova, Shane Inello, Isaiah Nieves, Miles Rivera and Mia Vitale.

Winners of the DARE essay contest included the following students: Jerry Cason, Matthew Prez, Morgan Seminara and Jane Sheldon. The students received a DARE teddy bear and a certificate and were asked to read their winning essays, each of them offering variations on a similar theme, that drugs, alcohol and tobacco are dangerous and that they should not engage in such risky behavior.

“It’s about making smart choices in every aspect of life, even in small ways, no matter what pressures come along,” Officer Piasta reassured them.

Lt. Zirolnik reminded the students that the DARE curriculum is meant to be a lifelong lesson. “The challenge for you is to apply what you learned,” he said. “We are all supporting you and know that you will do well and succeed.”