ADAMS TWP. – Fifth-grade students at Clinton-Massie Elementary School publicly pledged to stay drug-free at the recent D.A.R.E. program graduation.
According to School Resource Officer Deputy Danny Wood, portions of the D.A.R.E. program are taught in first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth grades, with the fifth-grade graduation being the culmination of the elementary program at Clinton-Massie.
This year, 137 fifth graders completed the program.
The students also participated in an essay contest about the importance of what they learned through D.A.R.E. First-place winners Brendan Musser and Hailey Swiger each received a bicycle for their winning essays.
Wade Collett and Nora Fricke were awarded second-place honors and each received a Darren the Lion stuffed animal, D.A.R.E.’s mascot.
Over time, challenges facing students have changed, and the D.A.R.E. curriculum has evolved.
Beginning in 1983, D.A.R.E. is now a comprehensive K-12 education program taught in thousands of schools in America and 52 other countries. In addition to addressing drugs and alcohol, it also targets violence, bullying, internet safety, and other high risk circumstances that today are too often a part of students’ lives.
Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that over 4,200 young people in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 24 died from drug overdoses in 2015. Over half of those deaths were due to the use opioids.
Thanks to the continued efforts and support by Sheriff Ralph Fizer Jr. and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office through partnering with local schools, the D.A.R.E. program continues to make a positive impact on students in Clinton County.
Deputy Wood said that many people and entities have contributed to the success of the program; he thanks Mike and Missy Wissman, Clinton-Massie PTO, Clinton County Antique Power Club, Ahresty Corporation, and Walmart for their donations to the program.
Wood also expressed appreciation for the efforts and assistance of the fifth-grade teachers and school staff.