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The sheriff’s department is wrapping up a year of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) this week with fifth and sixth-graders from four school districts in Anderson County.

Students from schools in Anderson county have written essays against alcohol and drug use, smoking, and bullying to win a new bicycle.

At Christian Heritage Academy, two students won bicycles for writing essays about drug and bullying prevention Tuesday. Their D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony was the first of four D.A.R.E. graduations in May, ahead of similar graduations at schools in Slocum, Westwood and Elkhart.

More than 100 students in have completed essays to win the D.A.R.E. contest at their schools. One boy and one girl will win a bicycle at each school.

“I wrote about bullying and what you say can scar someone for life,” said Dylan Hernandez, fifth-grade winner of a new bicycle.

Abigail won a bicycle for her essay about the dangers and consequences of drinking alcohol. She said the “Gross-out Video” was the most memorable part of the D.A.R.E. program.

All 15 fifth-grade students wore a red D.A.R.E. t-shirt to the ceremony. Deputy Pat Green, D.A.R.E. officer for eight school districts in Anderson County, presented each student with a certificate and a D.A.R.E. graduation card, which reminds them of strategies for avoiding bad influences.

The two runners-up in the essay contest, Isabel and Hudson Slate, were also recognized.

The students received lots of encouragement from Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Green. Taylor said that saying “no” to peer pressure takes courage and thanked the students for their participation.

“Even when you’re grown, there will be situations that you need to get out of, and this is some of the training that D.A.R.E. gives you,” said Sheriff Greg Taylor. “I encourage you to hold what you’ve learned and keep it close to your heart.”

D.A.R.E. is a nationwide program that is implemented through partnerships between law enforcement agencies and local schools. The program began in Los Angeles in 1983.

“Every one here–you’re all winners,” Green said.

From Palestine Herald-Press