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A group of students in the Tunkhannock Area Intermediate Center offered Tunkhannock Borough Patrolman Donald Hornlein, left some goodies for his police crew. The students, from left, are Megan Rickaby, Taryn Ostir, Meia VanHouten, Libby Stevens, Asti Murray, Ty Richter, Karlee MacMillan, and Lia Oshirak.

Best D.A.R.E. essay was written by Olivia Williams and it was read by one of the D.A.R.E. mentors, Isaac Clark.

Best D.A.R.E. essay was written by Olivia Williams and it was read by one of the D.A.R.E. mentors, Isaac Clark.

More than 200 Tunkhannock Area Intermediate Center fifth graders rose to the D.A.R.E. challenge on Friday by graduating from the 10-week course.

The Drug Awareness Resistance and Education program works to teach students how to meet a variety of life’s challenges – including resisting illicit drug and alcohol use; bullying; and developing good communication skills.

Rich Seaberg, who oversees the program, congratulated the students on their accomplishment.

“The flow of information in today’s world overwhelms and often confuses us,” Seaberg explained. “Our mission is to provide information you can trust.”

Seaberg thanked the Tunkhannock Rotary for providing $1,500 to help fund the program, which provides T-shirts and prizes.

Tunkhannock Area staff member Cammie Anderson reminded the grads of three big takeaways from the program.

First, education is so important to make sure you’ll have the facts and information you will need.

Second, this program gives you the skills to make the right decisions as you grow up.

And, third, it provides the resources that you are going to need as you proceed through life.

The event was attended by parents, grandparents and friends of the graduating class.

Seaberg thanked the high school mentors for the program who have given of themselves. “They hope to help you grow as you struggle with challenges they also have experienced.”

He said they were honor students, and accomplished athletes and artists, “really the best our community has to offer.”

The students were required to write an essay as part of their graduation exercise. Fifth grader Olivia Williams was awarded a $100 gift certificate, jacket and boob bag from the Tunkhannock Rotary for writing the best essay.

She asked mentor Isaac Clark if he would read her essay for her to the assembly.

He did so, later giving Williams a thumbs up for her good job.

Saira Gamez, who serves on the D.A.R.E. Mentor Program, offered some remarks and telling how several years earlier, “I wasn’t really in a good place but that all changed. Sometimes the hardest choices you have to make turn out to be the best ones.

Intermediate Center Principal Jason Azarovich told the students how proud he was of all the youths for their involvement with the program.

Guidance counselor Kate Krispin introduced a group of students who all had goodie bags for the Tunkhannock Borough Police who in recent weeks came in and shared their experiences with students. Patrolman Donald Hornlein was on hand to graciously accept the items.

Krispin noted later, “It was National Police Week two weeks earlier so it inspired us to gift them with these bags to show thanks and appreciation for what they do in our school and for our community.”

During the Friday graduation, Seaberg also introduced a video presentation put together by the D.A.R.E. mentors showed some of the activities the class participated in during the 10-week period. He called on Liz DeMarco to share the production with those attending – showing some life lessons as well as class interactions with some of the teachers and students.

From Wyoming County Press Examiner