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Lakeview Elementary School student Shannon Carter speaks at the Lakeview D.A.R.E. Program graduation as Police Officer A.L Barnhouse (left) and Lakeview Principal Patrick Neuman (right) listen on April 6, 2017. [John Adam/]

Students from Lakeview Elementary graduate from the D.A.R.E. program, which aims to educate them about drug and alcohol abuse.

COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Parents and teachers gathered at the Lakeview Elementary School cafeteria on Thursday to watch the fifth grade classes graduate from the D.A.R.E. program. Put on in collaboration with the Colonial Heights Police Department, the ten-week program teaches kids about drug and alcohol abuse, as well as giving them strategies to deal with peer pressure and stressful situations. Senior Police Officer A.L Barnhouse led the program at Lakeview.

“You learned a lot through this program,” said Superintendent Joseph Cox as he addressed the students. “I hope it stays with you as you mature.”

The ceremony started with several students reading essays stating what they had gotten out of the program. Each student then received a special certificate from Cox and members of the school board.

“This was not only a good school experience, but a good life experience,” said Cox.

D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles, and aimed to steer young children away from doing drugs or joining gangs. Barnhouse, who led the program at Lakeview for the second straight year, engaged the students in weekly lessons.

“I talk to them as if they are my own kids,” said Barnhouse.

Though it was a graduation, D.A.R.E. programs continue up through the middle and high school levels, as the students continue to learn about how to resist drugs and alcohol.

From The Progress-Index