Select Page

The Santa Maria Police Honor Guard posts the colors during the D.A.R.E. graduation at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge on Thursday.

More than 800 sixth-grade students took the pledge to stay drug free and make responsible, informed choices during a Thursday morning graduation for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.

Claps and cheers filled the Santa Maria Elks Lodge as students, clad in black D.A.R.E. shirts and wristbands, from Santa Maria-area schools gathered to celebrate the end of their 10-week program.

Mike Wheeler, the Santa Maria Police Department officer who has headed the D.A.R.E. program since summer, spoke about the significance of the logo.

“You all got a T-shirt and wristband to remind you of the D.A.R.E. program and help you remember that there are people in your life who want you to succeed,” he said. “I’m one of them; so are your parents and teachers. We’re here today to support you, and they sacrificed to give you this D.A.R.E. program.”

The D.A.R.E. curriculum, which was originally developed with a staunch anti-drug message, was revamped over the last decade to emphasize the importance of making healthy, responsible choices in everyday situations. Students are taught to not just avoid or refrain from ingesting illicit substances, but to evaluate every potentially deleterious situation and those who are involved with it.

“We want to give students the tools to stop and think, ‘Hey, I don’t have to do something just because somebody else is encouraging me,’” Wheeler explained. “The hope is that it carries over. Making good decisions applies to everything, not just drugs, alcohol or gangs.”

Seven students — one from each school in attendance — were presented by Wheeler as winners of the D.A.R.E. essay writing contest. Though unique in their delivery and content, all essays touched on the importance of making smart, risk-averse choices.

“The D.A.R.E. decision-making model will help me in the future when I encounter a risky situation,” Eileen Ventura, the Alvin Elementary essay winner, said before delving into the importance of refraining from drug use. “Some drugs affect your body … and may cause heart, lung or liver damage. It is important not to do drugs so you can live a normal, healthy life.”

Raymond Padilla, the Bruce Elementary essay winter, touched on his experience witnessing a family member struggle with tobacco use.

“Cigarettes can lead to lung cancer and [can] put a hole in your throat,” he said, most likely referring to a tracheostomy, an independent airway in the throat use to breathe. “My uncle has cancer and [doctors] put a hole in his throat.”

As Wheeler prepares to educate a new cohort of students, he said he could not have more pride in his inaugural class of graduates.

“Seeing the light in their eyes and their willingness to participate makes it easier for me to keep going,” he said.

From Santa Maria Times

Munster Police Honor D.A.R.E. Graduates

Munster Police Honor D.A.R.E. Graduates

The Munster Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program has been presented to Munster students for over thirty years. The police department recently honored this semester’s approximately 275 D.A.R.E. graduates at Eads Elementary School…

170 Graduate from D.A.R.E.

170 Graduate from D.A.R.E.

Skaha Lake Middle School Grade 6 student Kai Godfrey presented his D.A.R.E. essay to parents, teachers and his entire grade Wednesday morning at the D.A.R.E. graduation. Approximately 170 Skaha Lake Middle School students graduated from the Drug Abuse Resistance...

Sixth-Graders Complete D.A.R.E. Program

Sixth-Graders Complete D.A.R.E. Program

Drug Abuse Resistance Education officers Gary Warner, Department of the Army Police, and Spc. Rachel Ingram, 500th Military Police Detachment, Special Troops Battalion, listen to MacArthur Elementary School sixth-grader Michelle Dillard read her D.A.R.E. essay during...

D.A.R.E. Graduates: 149 Watford City 5th Graders Make History

D.A.R.E. Graduates: 149 Watford City 5th Graders Make History

149 Watford City fifth-graders made history Thursday. After 15 weeks, they are the first class to graduate from its D.A.R.E. program. “I’m really proud of the 149 kids we had graduate today,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Jensen, school resource officer. This program might be a...

30th Annual D.A.R.E. Culmination Celebrated at Corpus Christi School

30th Annual D.A.R.E. Culmination Celebrated at Corpus Christi School

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ – Fifth-graders at Corpus Christi School have been participating in D.A.R.E., a once-a-week anti-drug program led by Det. Sgt. Alan Baker over the past school year. The annual program finished with the culmination, or graduation on…

D.A.R.E. – Teaches Kids to Make Smart Choices

D.A.R.E. – Teaches Kids to Make Smart Choices

FALLSBURG — Back in 1983, a Los Angeles school district created a partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department to create a drug resistance education program for students. Based upon the science of avoidance at the time, the program taught about specific drugs…

Copyright © 2020 D.A.R.E. America. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2020 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.