D.A.R.E. program graduates new class

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; A 10-week drug abuse education program came to a close Wednesday, sending its graduates into an unsure world a bit more prepared.

Seven fifth-grade students from Huntington School received a graduation certificate from the D.A.R.E program after completing a series of classes.

&8220;I know these kids gained a lot of information and will be prepared on the challenges they will face in the future,&8221; D.A.R.E instructor and deputy sheriff Phillip Webber said.

Email newsletter signup

&8220;The 10 weeks we spent together were very bright and energetic and the students really got into the work.&8221;

The program taught the students to be more aware of their surroundings, while being confident in the ability to say no to drugs, alcohol and violence.

D.A.R.E also taught the students self-confidence and to say no to negative situations.

Part of the program required the students to submit an essay on the negative aspects of drugs and design a poster.

&8220;Alcohol is bad for your brain and gives you poor judgment and slurred speech,&8221; said D.A.R.E. essay contest winner Jared Hedrick.

&8220;People die from drugs and that&8217;s why you shouldn&8217;t use them.&8221;

Webber said the program was beneficial because it put students into classroom situations, giving them confidence in the ability to say no in real life peer pressure situations.

Sheriff Randy Maxwell also spoke on the importance of the program. &8220;These kids will be approached about using drugs and it will be in familiar surroundings by people they know,&8221; Maxwell said. &8220;The more they say no the easier it will get for them.&8221;

The seven students all had varying opinions of the program, but they all said one thing for sure.

&8220;I liked it because it kept us out of class, and we had fun and learned how to say no and that drugs can kill you,&8221; D.A.R.E. graduate Garrett Vinson said.

Marcy Loomis said she loved the whole program and will remember the experience.

&8220;I had fun and liked doing the work because the D.A.R.E. teacher was really nice and fun,&8221; she said.