Natchez school celebrates D.A.R.E. graduation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 4, 2008

NATCHEZ — As of Friday there are currently 265 fifth-graders who really, really don’t like drugs.

Morgantown Elementary School graduated its first batch of D.A.R.E. participants on Friday.

The graduation was the first of its kind in the Natchez-Adams School District.

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One year ago school officials and members of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office began planning a way to bring the, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, program to the area.

Deputy Jack Smith had the honor of being county’s first D.A.R.E. officer.

“They love it,” he said of the student’s love of the program.

“What did you learn in class?” he asked a group of students.

“Don’t use drugs,” Chiquella Reynolds, 10, said. “They’re bad for you.”

School and law enforcement officials attended the ceremony as well as a handful of parents.

Sheriff Ronny Brown briefly addressed the students warning them of the perils of drug use and the importance of staying in schools.

“It takes kids like you to say no,” he said.

Brown also took time in his address to thank Smith for his hard work and dedication to the students.

Superintendent of the Natchez-Adams School District Anthony Morris also spoke at Friday’s graduation.

Morris reminded the students of the district’s commitment to their futures and the negative impact drugs would have on them.

Everyone at the graduation agreed the program’s freshman year was a success.

Fred Marsalis, Morgantown’s principal, said he is looking forward to the next year of the program at the school.

Morris said the district currently has no plans to expand the program past Morgantown’s fifth-grade.

Smith, also looking forward to the future of the program, said next year’s class should be even better.

Smith said some scheduling problems in the first year of the program made for a “bumpy ride.”

However Smith said those problems have been corrected.

And the correction of those problems show the school’s commitment to making the program a success Smith said.

But from he looks of Friday’s graduates the program is already a success.

Melody Pennington, 10, said she enjoyed the class and took from it a hope for the future.

“I wish no one would use drugs,” she said.