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GALION — Warmer weather gives way to the graduation season for high school seniors. But it’s also a time for another type of graduation ceremony that focuses on younger students making a commitment to staying drug and alcohol free, and making good choices.

Galion sixth-grade students participated in the middle school’s D.A.R.E. graduation party for the first time in more than a decade on May 8.

The D.A.R.E. program gives students the opportunity to meet and interact with local law enforcement officers while they are still in the formative stages of their lives. Working with students at this age gives Crawford County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Christopher Martin the opportunity to show students a side of law enforcement they don’t usually see.

“I think it is important that a deputy can go into a classroom and instruct students on everything from safety to knowing the dangers of drugs and making good choices,” Deputy Martin said. “We want them to know that officers care and we are not out there to just arrest someone or write someone a ticket.”

Martin recognized the D.A.R.E. essay contest winners during the celebration. Students were asked to write about the DARE program and what it meant to each of them. Winners included Jaydon Conlen, Luke Tinnermeier, Madison Peden, Jada Wright, Levi Graham, Emma Ross, Whitney Kimble and Jasmine Butterfield.

“I want to personally thank Sheriff (Scott) Kent and Deputy Martin for their work in bring the D.A.R.E. program back to Galion Middle School,” said Galion superintendent Jim Grubbs. “My hope is our students will carry the lessons learned in the D.A.R.E. program with them the rest of their lives.”

The Crawford County D.A.R.E. program serves approximately 3,000 students from eight schools in Crawford County. The program is supported by Crawford County Sheriff Scott Kent and receives a small grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s office.To learn more about the Crawford County D.A.R.E. program, please contact Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Martin at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office at 419-562-7906.

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