Friday, November 13, 2009

Reserve Students Find Some Respect At School

By Kaye Mindar
For the Mountain Mail

Reserve High School junior and senior classes learned some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. recently in a week of hands-on classes and demonstrations provided through the District Attorney’s office.
The Real Life Education for Self-Protection Empowering College Bound Teens course was developed through Clint Wellborn, the district attorney for Catron, Sierra, Socorro, and Torrance counties; with the help of his assistant Keri Penner and the skills and trainings of many others this course was developed after the brutal beating, rape and murder of a local college student in Estancia in Torrance County.
Concerned for the safety of our students taking into account the ratios, chances and statistics there are concerns of our students being at a disadvantage when they leave small towns for larger life in the “real” world; this informative and openly honest program is being offered to every high school in the four counties under the D.A.’s jurisdiction and an Internet course also is being developed.
This class was recently offered at Quemado High School the first week of October and Reserve students were very anxious to be involved in the weeklong program for their first year.
During the week, the young women were taught a self defense course with Ike Ensey; investigator for the D.A.’s office as instructor and Ray Goetz from the Catron County Sheriff’s department. Not to leave the young men out, they were also instructed in behavioral issues to be more aware of the signs of abusive behavior in themselves and their partners. Another module of the program was taught by Mary Gorton; the victim’s advocate from the D.A.’s office as she educated the youth in defensive dating and abuse issues. Ian Fletcher talked about drug and alcohol awareness and Keri Penner educated the students in sexting and Internet safety issues.
On Thursday to close out the week, the students were given a D.W.I. course with the assistance of James Hammond and Justin Coburn from the New Mexico State Police, along with the Catron County Sheriff’s Department where they experienced firsthand driving a coned parking lot course wearing “impairment” glasses and taking a field sobriety test, which each student - still wearing the glasses - failed and were arrested.
One young woman asked upon being handcuffed if this was what it was really like she was quickly told, “This is as real as it gets”.
In closing remarks, Principal Cindy Shellhorn remarked to her students that she was proud of them during the program and unfortunately they must be opened to a world of un-trust and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Ion Fletcher remarked to the students that he was amazed by their thoughtful, respectful questions and enjoyed being around them and also sharing a sense of humor along with the seriousness of the course.
Certificates of completing the course were presented and a few of the students were asked their opinion of the course.
Romelia Aragon; Horse Springs: learned the most and thought the self defense was the best part.
Victoria Delao; Reserve: learned a great deal and enjoyed the Internet awareness module.
Kayli Laney; Luna: Enjoyed the self defense portion of the classes.
Cody McCarty; Reserve: Responded that the entire week was very informative and he was grateful to have been a part of it.
Joaquin Gutierrez; Reserve: Was surprised at how much he learned in the drug and alcohol awareness class and thought it was most informative.
Nolan Snyder; Reserve: Was happy that they made learning fun and benefited from the information and hands-on awareness of the DWI course.

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