. . . 130 students from two Barnwell County schools took the “dare” to be drug free.

Following 10 weeks of classes, 73 fifth and sixth graders from Macedonia Elementary-Middle School in Blackville and 57 fifth graders from Kelly Edwards Elementary School in Williston earned their D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) certificates during graduation programs. MEMS included sixth graders this year due to the school not having the D.A.R.E. program last year. Fifth graders at Barnwell Elementary School will graduate from D.A.R.E. in the spring.

“D.A.R.E. taught me to make the right decisions and say no to drugs,” said Keyoni Kerins, one of the essay winners at MEMS.

Kerins and other essay winners from both schools told how drugs and alcohol can cause many problems, including with one’s health, relationships and overall life.

“It changes your appearance and sometimes you become unrecognizable,” said Travis Grubbs, one of the essay winners at KEES.

Richland County sheriff’s deputy Kevin Lawrence, who is featured on the popular television show “Live PD”, was the guest speaker at the Dec. 12 graduation program at MEMS. He was taught the D.A.R.E. program in Aiken County by Sgt. Donald Danner, who is now a Barnwell County sheriff’s deputy and the D.A.R.E instructor at MEMS.

“A lot of people don’t think the decisions you make now will affect your future,” said Lawrence.

However, that is not true.

While everyone makes mistakes throughout their lives, Lawrence encouraged the students to learn from their mistakes and aim to not make bad decisions. He said there are two types of people – those who continually make mistakes and those who learn from their mistakes.

He also encouraged the students to work hard to accomplish their dreams and to be cognizant of what they post on social media. “How you control yourself on social media is how people view you. That’s the picture we are going to have of you,” he said.

Barnwell Police Detective Shawn Howze, who is a native of Blackville, was the speaker at the KEES graduation on Dec. 13. He acknowledged that peer pressure can be one’s biggest enemy, but encouraged students to remember the important lessons they learned through D.A.R.E., including to make good decisions, avoid violence, and be drug free.

“Expect much of yourself and expect the same of those around you. Challenge your peers and look for those who need a little nudge. Encourage them and remind them of their potential, but, most of all, lead them by your example. Let them be inspired by what you’ve dared to become, which is drug free,” he said. “It is important that we stop you young people before y’all start using drugs or using violence to solve your problems.”

Deputy Andrew Fedrick, a school resource officer in Williston, encourages parents to reinforce at home the lessons their children learned in D.A.R.E.

Fifty-seven students at Kelly Edwards Elementary graduated from the D.A.R.E. program on December 13 [2019]. They are pictured with Daren the Lion, who is the mascot of the D.A.R.E. program.

Kelly Edwards Elementary School: Jacob Absher, Baylee Adams, Cayson Austin, Jonah Baker, Mattilyn Bell, Hunter Bolen, Jaylen Braxton, King Brown, Gage Cagle, Kamryn Creech, Kaiden Davis, Adriona Donaldson, Cassie Donaldson, Camryn Donahue, Grace Dorn, Joshua Epps, Briana Fail, Kanye Ford, Jose Garcia, Jasiah Gibson, Christian Graham, Travis Grubbs, Connor Harvey, Alyah Holmes, Andrea Holmes, Lillian Hutson, Jordiann Isaac, Harper Jamison, Kierston Jeffers, Matthew Klimek, Andrew Kneece, Kelsey Knowles, Aarionne Lewis, Shamar Mack, Alexa McBride, Raziya Miller, Javonte Mitchell, Matthew Moody, Levi Moore, Za’Quoia Moore, Darrell Newman, Ja’Zhara O’Neal, Randy Owens, Yug Patel, Camron Pontoo, Kemarion Redingburg, Keith Richardson, Randy Robinson, Heaven Smalls, Zavien Snelling, Hayden Stephenson, Cloie Still, Ikeah Tyler, Rayonna White, Lee’Asja Williams, Nicholas Williams, Stanse Youngblood

Seventy-three students at Macedonia Elementary-Middle School in Blackville graduated from DARE on December 12 [2019].

Macedonia Elementary-Middle School: Kayla Abney, Kaiden Aiken, Joshua Ayer, Nazaria Bagley, Alayna Banks, Marlee Barker, Da’Marion Berry, Caleb Brown, Trevarius Brown, Tylasia Brown, Tony Bryant, Tyrine Chess, Bryce Collins, Willow Croft, Kimberly Cruz, Peyton Davis, Breyon Donaldson, Sha’Mya Dowling, Eric Dunbar, Xyian Fisher, Journee Ford, Hannah Frickling, Kayla Gleaton, DeMya Govan, Daniel Gunnells, Kalih Harmon, Kaliah Harmon, Ranasha Howard, Jayden Jackson, Shamiya James, Tamara James, Tamaya James, Tavion James, Ex’Zavior Jamison, Sha’Niya Jenkins, Dillan Jimenez, Ja’Faith Johnson, Terrion Johnson, Desirae Jones, Ja’Miyah Jones, Keiaira Jones, Elexis Joyner, Terrence Joyner, Keyani Kerins, Tahlia Kinard, Jennifer Lopez-Pacheco, Frankie Lucas, Grover Mayes, Fantasia McCreary, Robert McCreary, Messiah McFadden, Emmelie Moors, Cooper Mulbah, Markita O’Neal, Aimee Owens, Jurnee Raysor, Di’Andra Risi, Ricky Richberg, Londyn Sanders, Rylan Sanders, Deon Sapp, Ke’shan Sincino, Jonathan Smalls, Rachel Stanbrook, Heaven Thompson, Bryce Tucker, Chloe Tucker, Jorge Vasquez, Breyanna Williams, Sa’Riyah Vinson, Cedrick Walker, Kristen Waltz, Demeria Woodley

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Copyright © 2021 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.