Thirty six fifth graders at DeKalb West School participated in a DARE graduation ceremony Thursday.
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was conducted by DARE Officer Tim Hearn 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 were Cassie Cain and McKenzie Poteete
Judge Bratten Cook II presented checks for $50 to both Cain and Poteete.
DARE Officer Tim Hearn, during his remarks, told the students that he too was once a student in the DARE program. \"This day is special for me because this is my first DARE graduation at the West School as a DARE officer and because twelve years ago, I sat in this same gym and graduated from the DARE program myself. I want you to take the knowledge and skills you have learned and use it to remain true to your commitment to avoid drugs and violence.\"
Sheriff Patrick Ray, who also spoke during the DARE graduation, congratulated the students on their accomplishments. \" Over the last few weeks, Deputy Tim has taught you lesson plans and how to focus on four major areas. He has provided you accurate information about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. He has taught you good decision making skills. He has shown you how to recognize and resist peer pressure, and he has given you ideas for positive alternatives to drug use.\"
\"Deputy Tim has also shown you ways for positive self esteem and how to make positive decisions on your own. Through role-playing, lectures, question and answer, and use of the specialized DARE workbooks, you have been taught the negative consequences of drug use.\"
\"If the need ever arises that you need someone to talk to, someone to cry on, or just to talk to in general, you will always be welcomed to talk to Deputy Tim or me. Thank you and congratulations on this special day.\"
With the help of the DeKalb County Mayor, Mike Foster, and the DeKalb County Commission, money from the Sheriff's Department drug fund account was used to fund this year's DARE Program at Northside Elementary School and DeKalb West School, after the state cut funding for DARE.
Other elected public officials on hand for the DARE graduation program, in addition to Sheriff Ray and Judge Cook, were Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Trustee Sean Driver, County Mayor Mike Foster, Assessor of Property Timothy \"Fud\" Banks, and Constable Wayne Vanderpool.