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"D.A.R.E."ing to be drug free

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NOREEN HYSLOP-nhyslop@dailystatesman.com Ryder Foster, shown at top at far left, was selected by Officer Lori O'Dell for the 2012 Daren (The D.A.R.E. Lion) Award. The award is presented at D.A.R.E. graduation to the fifth grade student who best exemplifies good citizenship. Pictured with Ryder are the seven students whose classroom essays were read aloud at Wednesday's graduation exercise at Central School. Seated are Abbi Montgomery, Madilyn Hampton, Mason Okan, and Victoria Bess. From left following Ryder are Maddin Slaton, Annie Slaton, and Addyson Green.
A total of 154 fifth grade students at Central Elementary in Dexter crossed the stage to receive their certification for having completed this year's Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.

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.

Addyson Green was the overall winner of the 2012 Essay Contest which annually takes place at the conclusion of the D.A.R.E. instruction at Central School. Addyson is pictured with Officer Lori O'Dell of the Dexter Police Department, longtime D.A.R.E. instructor.
Secondly, D.A.R.E. aims to build decision-making and problem solving skills and strategies to help students make informed decisions and resist drug use, peer pressure, and violence.

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.

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