Fifth graders dare to say ‘no’ to drugs

Fifth graders from Kate Goodrich, Washington and St. John schools affirmed their stand to resist drugs and violence as they graduated from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program Jan. 18. The program is taught by the Merrill Police Department in these schools.

As a culminating exercise, each student wrote an essay to remind themselves why they should steer clear of drugs and violence. A panel of judges picked a winner from each classroom, and those winners read their essays at the graduation ceremony. Classroom winners were: Catherine Murray, Taylor Krueger and Riley Humphrey from Kate Goodrich; Logan Humphrey from St. John; and Hailey Schult and Isaac Meyer from Washington.

DARE educators from the Merrill Police Department were assisted by teenage role models from Merrill High School’s Teens Against Tobacco Use group.

DARE instructors also chose several fifth-graders who have potential to become role models themselves. These students received Daren awards, named for the program’s lion mascot. Daren award winners were Kate Goodrich school: Kade Bonnell, Tyler Baade, Madelyn Kurtz; St John’s School: Jacob Novitch; and Washington School: Allison Kloth, Ben Reindl.

The 117 5th graders who took the DARE pledge this year represented the 35th DARE class to graduate from those schools.

DARE is a collaborative effort between the police department, the schools, parents and community leaders. DARE teaches children to recognize and resist the direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs.

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