Dexter Officer Lori O'Dell, who has been the local D.A.R.E. instructor for the past six years, presided over the annual graduation ceremony in the school gym with several dignitaries on stage to congratulate the grads as each was called forward.
The D.A.R.E. program has three main goals. First, D.A.R.E. seeks to provide students with a knowledge base on the effects of drug abuse that go beyond the physical ramifications and extend to emotional, social, and economic aspects of life.
Lastly, an integral part of the D.A.R.E. program is to provide students with alternatives to drug use."
In recent years, O'Dell has also addressed the issue of bullying with her fifth grade students as she instructed weekly in all seven of the fifth grader classes at Central School.
Near the conclusion of the program, students are asked to write essays telling of what they gained through the D.A.R.E. program. From each of the seven classrooms, one essay is selected as the one that best defines the program and bears what is judged to be the most significant lesson learned. From those seven, one essay is then chosen as best overall.
This year, the essay of Addyson Green, daughter of Michael and Marcy Green, was selected as the most meaningful essay. Each winning essay was read aloud during Wednesday's graduation exercise. O'Dell also recognized three students from each class who exhibited consistent good character in the course of the D.A.R.E. program.