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It was graduation day for some students from Mesick Elementary, but they’re not moving to middle school just yet.

Students celebrated their graduation from the D.A.R.E. program with pizza and ice skating at the Wex in Cadillac.

The celebration was the culmination of weeks of work in the program.

D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, was originally a program primarily focused on preventing and educating students on drug abuse, but recently, the program has expanded to include classes on bullying, and overall safety.

Students at schools across the country are visited by D.A.R.E. officers from local police departments and spend several weeks learning how to stay out of trouble.

The program has been around since 1983 and students from several generations have benefited from it.

Those who help run the program in Wexford County say a good first impression of a law enforcement officer is crucial when children are involved.

Wexford County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Lipar went through the program when he was younger and says it left a lasting impact on him, leading to his law enforcement career and assumption of the D.A.R.E. duties.

And according to faculty, with Deputy Lipar’s lessons, the students now have an understanding of what to do and what not to do in questionable situations.

The D.A.R.E. program will continue for years to come at all schools within Wexford County.

From minews26.

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