Mayor to DARE Graduates: Resist Peer Pressure, Embrace Your Opportunities

Mayor Steve Ponto told Brookfield Elementary School fifth graders: "With all the exciting opportunities which you have to learn and grow, don’t get distracted by drugs or gangs. They will only hold you down."

Editor's Note: These are the Mayor's comments Thursday to D.A.R.E. graduates at :

Good morning to all of you. I’m delighted to be with you this morning and to have this opportunity to speak to you briefly.

I want to sincerely congratulate each of you students on successfully completing the D.A.R.E. program. As you know, D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. The D.A.R.E. program began in Los Angeles in 1983 — some 29 years ago — and is now being implemented in 75 percent of our nation’s school districts and more than 43 countries around the world. As you also know, the emphasis in D.A.R.E. is to educate you on resisting peer pressure and living productive drug-free and violence-free lives.

You are growing up at a very exciting time — when technological advances are truly stunning. I personally am fascinated by computers, by smart phones, by the smart boards which you have in this school, and by the internet where so much information is available at your fingertips.

My youngest daughter — who is now 25 years old — attended Brookfield Elementary, and subsequently graduated from Marquette University. She is now working in Shanghai, China. I have a video call with her almost every day over the Internet on Skype. I can see her and talk to her — by each of us using computers connected by the internet — and it doesn’t cost anything! I am truly amazed by the good things technology has brought us.

You are very fortunate to be attending school in the Elmbrook School District. Not only do you have a very beautiful school building in which to learn but the quality of the school district has consistently been among the best in the State of Wisconsin.

In fact, in March, the MacIver Institute for Public Policy studied the 50 largest school districts in Wisconsin and rated your school district — the Elmbrook School District — number one in the state. Be proud of that — but more importantly make full use of it.

My point is that this is an exciting time and you have exceptional opportunities. Ones that can take you as far as you want to go.

I urge each of you to make the most of the opportunities you have here at school. Also, make the most of all the other resources we have in Brookfield:  a first class library; a wide array of recreational activities; a beautiful park system; and cultural programs — particularly through the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center. Also, and of fundamental importance, appreciate the fact that Brookfield is a safe community. You should be alert and be careful but, fundamentally, you are safe here. In many parts of this country and of the world, basic safety cannot be taken for granted.

I also hope that one of the many things you have learned from D.A.R.E. is that the police officer who taught you, Officer Julie Stubblefield, is a good person who is here to help you — just like all the other police officers in Brookfield. You can turn to our Police officers for help.

With all the exciting opportunities which you have to learn and grow, don’t get distracted by drugs or gangs. They will only hold you down.

Congratulations again on graduating from D.A.R.E. Use the lessons you learned in D.A.R.E and the opportunities you have here in Brookfield to be all you can be.

Thank you.

Mayor Steve Ponto


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