Fifth graders at DeKalb West School received pins and certificates during the annual DARE graduation ceremony held today (Monday).
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was conducted by DARE Instructor and Chief Deputy Don Adamson of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.
Each student prepares an essay during the course and those with the best essays from each class are recognized and awarded. This year's essay winners at DeKalb West School are Addison Grace Oakley and Thomas Tippin . The fifth grade teachers are Jeana Caplinger and Jane Watson.
Oakley was the over-all winner and she read her essay during Monday's program. In addition to the award, prizes, and recognition, Oakley gets to keep "Daren the Lion" the DARE Mascot and she received a $50 check from Judge Bratten Cook II.
Sheriff Patrick Ray, who spoke during the DARE graduation, told the students that "D.A.R.E. is a cooperative effort by the DeKalb Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County School System, parents, and the community. I ask you today students, to take this valuable information and apply it to your lives, now and forever."
Others on hand for the ceremony were DeKalb West School Principal Danny Parkerson, Assistant Principal Sabrina Farler, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II, Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, County Mayor Mike Foster, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Trustee Sean Driver, and employees of the Sheriff's Department.
The following is Oakley's essay:
"DARE. While I have been in DARE I've learned that drugs can really ruin your whole life and that even if it sounds good cause all your friends do it, it's not. Just think, "why smoke". Smoking causes breathing problems and no one wants that. It also causes heart problems and no one wants that. It also causes heart disease, lung cancer. Its really not worth it. Scientists have found over 200 poisons in cigarette smoke. You also can harm or kill the person that you love just by letting them breathe your smoke. That's called second hand smoke. So just remember, if someone offers you a cigarette, say "No". Its better for everyone."
"Marijuana is illegal, so if someone has it, tell an adult fast. Its very dangerous. It can also cause breathing problems. Marijuana affects your brain and your body. Some examples are: short-term memory loss, loss of the ability to concentrate, slow coordination, and reflexes."
"Drinking is not the smart thing to do. If you are with others who are drinking, there is an increased risk of injury, car crashes, and violence. Alcohol can also damage every organ in your body. So any bad drugs are never good to use so try to keep your body healthy because if you have big dreams, like playing NBA or NFL, you might want to have a backup plan. If drugs can kill people, they can easily kill dreams. Chief Don has taught us that just because your friends or your family does, it doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Things I learned at DARE.
(Pictured: left to right- FRONT, Addison Grace Oakley and Thomas Tippin; BEHIND, DARE Instructor and Chief Deputy Don Adamson, Judge Bratten Cook, II, and Sheriff Patrick Ray)