By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Justin Ailes, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Public Affairs
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Two Petty Officers attached to the Security department at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba attended an 80-hour Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) officer course, Mar. 19-30.
The course, held in Tavares, Fla., trained personnel on how to instruct the D.A.R.E curriculum to students.
"This course was by far one of the best learning experiences I have ever gone through," said Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Casey Morgan, D.A.R.E officer program graduate. "The course demanded our full attention along with extra time dedicated to nightly homework assignments and preparation for presentations.
"Throughout the course we sat through constructed lessons (the same ones we will be teaching), learned how to put together outlines, conducted 3 graded presentations, learned how the brain works, (learned) about the 3 types of learning and how to properly use this knowledge to educate others. We were tasked with activities that involved us working individually, in pairs and also in teams. One of our final tasks involved being observed while interacting with kindergarten - 5th grade students at Florida schools."
The course was sponsored by D.A.R.E America, and facilitated by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) officials.
"This course taught us the facts and effects of drug, tobacco, alcohol and inhalant abuse," said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Eldis Vazquez, D.A.R.E officer program graduate. "We'll be able to teach others how to make right decisions and how to deal with potentially harmful situations."
The class consisted of 12 students, divided into three teams. Morgan was awarded the Most Outstanding Team Member Award, and Vazquez was recognized as the most motivated, friendly and enthusiastic student in the course.
"These two Sailors now have the ability to better educate local students in all aspects of the D.A.R.E program," said Chief Master-at-Arms Eduardo Perez. "Additionally, they will be able to coordinate and partner with teachers and parents within the Guantanamo Bay community. Morgan and Vasquez were selected among the finest and most dedicated junior petty officers at the installation. Their drive for success, motivation and qualifications obtained were key factors in the selection process."
NS Guantanamo Bay's W.T. Sampson elementary and high schools intend to implement the D.A.R.E. program later this year.
"I think this will be a great opportunity to give kids being schooled here in GTMO the same chance that a lot of kids that go to school stateside get with the D.A.R.E. program," said Morgan.
D.A.R.E. began in 1983 in Los Angeles and now exists in 75 percent of the nation's school districts and more than 43 countries around the world. D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.