Pubdate: Tue, 17 Aug 2004
Source: Morning Call (PA)
Copyright: 2004 The Morning Call Inc.
Author: Chris Parker
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


DARE Officers Name Rosemary Porembo State Educator Of Year.

Panther Valley Elementary School principal Rosemary Porembo has been named 
Pennsylvania Educator of the Year by the Drug Abuse Resistance Education 
Officers Association.

The program, commonly known as DARE, is taught in schools by police 
officers and shows children how to recognize and resist the use of illegal 

Porembo, who competed with six nominees from across the state, was 
nominated by Nesquehoning Police Chief Sean Smith, who is a DARE officer.

"In her position as principal, Mrs. Rosemary Porembo was always promoting 
the DARE program by continually contacting and meeting with the officers 
from the first day of the new school year starting in August to the last 
day of school in June," Smith wrote in his nomination essay.

He said Porembo has been an "inspiration and a morale booster" for DARE 

One of those officers is Lansford Borough police Sgt. John Turcmanovich, 
who presents the 10-week program at the Panther Valley Elementary School 
and at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School in Lansford.

He is the president of the 800-member DARE Officers Association for the 
state and is on the program's national advisory board.

"She deserves it," he said of Porembo. "She was there when we started the 
program 14 years ago, and she was just a fifth-grade teacher at the time. 
As she advanced in her career, she always stayed involved with us. She 
helped us and worked with us. She was like our conscience."

Turcmanovich read Smith's essay at a Pennsylvania D.A.R.E. Officer's 
Association banquet earlier this month as she accepted her award.

The banquet also honored two students of the year, Kim Rarick, a senior at 
North Schuylkill High School in Ashland, and Liz Yeakley, a June graduate 
of Muhlenberg High School in Laureldale.

The association also awarded DARE Officer of the Year to Sgt. Robert T. 
Detweiler of the West Whiteland Township Police Department, Chester County.

Porembo was given a plaque and a citation; the students won $1,000 

The DARE program is crucial, Turcmanovich said.

"Kids are not getting the guidance they should at home anymore," he said. 
"I don't know if parents are afraid to discuss the subject, or don't have 
enough knowledge."

He'd like to do the program at the middle and high school levels, but money 
is lacking. The state Commission on Crime and Delinquency has granted 
$6,000 a year for the program in the past, but not this year.

So Turcmanovich and Smith rallied donations.

The money pays for give-aways, graduation awards, teaching materials and a 
graduation party.

Downplaying her own contributions, Porembo lauded Turcmanovich, who began 
teaching the kindergarten-through-fifth grade program in 1991.

"Fourteen years he has been working on this project," she said. "He comes 
in and the students respect him. He brings such logical ideas to them about 
how to handle peer pressure and situations at home."

Turcmanovich not only teaches, she said, he listens. The bond that is 
formed through his interaction with the students encourages the children to 
see police as people they can trust to help them with problems.

"They are not always in the role of someone who is going to come down on 
you, who will put a consequence on you," Porembo said.

The occasional sweet treats he brings in help too, Porembo added with a smile.
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