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Dover D.A.R.E. graduates show off their certificates at a ceremony held earlier this month.

DOVER — The annual ceremony for the Dover Police Department’s Dover Middle School D.A.R.E. program took place earlier this month inside the Dover Middle School gymnasium.

At the event, 312 fifth-grade students celebrated the completion of the D.A.R.E. curriculum, which lasts 13 weeks.

In addition to the graduates, teachers, other school staff, and approximately 100 parents, some state, city and school officials were also in attendance. State Sen. David Watters, Dover Mayor Karen Weston, Police Chief Anthony F. Colarusso, Jr., Dover City Councilor Anthony McManus, Dover School Board Chair Amanda Russell, and Dover School Board Vice Chair Betsey Andrews Parker were among the dignitaries. Also present were the police department’s three D.A.R.E. instructors, Detective Matt Travaglini, Dana Mitchell, and Officer Jason Feliciano.

Prior to the graduation ceremony, the Dover Police Department’s Youth to Youth program recognized Watters for his long-standing support of substance abuse prevention efforts. The award, presented to him by Colarusso, was the Community Service in Drug Prevention Award “for tireless legislative efforts to champion action, resources and solutions needed to respond to substance abuse, including legislation to protect kids from exposure to second-hand smoke in cars.” Watters and Colarusso both addressed the D.A.R.E. graduates.

Dover Police Chief Anthony F. Colarusso, Jr. poses with N.H. State Sen. David Watters after the chief presented Watters with the Community Service in Drug Prevention Award earlier this month during Dover D.A.R.E. graduations ceremonies at the Dover Middle School earlier this month.

As part of the DARE program, each student is asked to write a letter to a fictitious friend who has moved away and has recently begun to use alcohol or tobacco. The goal is to see what the students would write to that friend to help them make better choices. The winning essays were written by Kyla Woolley and Finn Mattingly. They both read their award essays to the large crowd. The graduates were then presented with their certificates and their Drug Free IDs. The Drug Free IDs allow the students to get discounts at several participating businesses in the area.

From fosters.com

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