The inaugural Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) graduation for Haughton Elementary School was held Tuesday afternoon as 86 students received their certificates of completion during the school’s first year of operation.
“Everything we’ve done this year has been for the first time, so it’s been exciting,” said Principal Andrea Spinney. “Our kids are excited that they are the first D.A.R.E. graduating class of Haughton Elementary School.”
Deputy Cedric Payne is a seasoned SRO who is enjoying his new assignment at Haughton Elementary School. “It was awesome!” he exclaimed. “The support of the staff and the students loving what they do made the graduation go great. The students really love learning D.A.R.E., and they didn’t want it to end.”
Bossier Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. officers teach the 5th graders how to make wise life decisions as they move into middle school and face increased peer pressure. The deputies don’t sugarcoat the facts and ensure the children are as best prepared to deal with such things as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and bullying, and emphasize the importance of being responsible for their actions.
“Unfortunately, in today’s times, our students need to have this knowledge younger and younger, so it’s a great program,” emphasized Principal Spinney. “They’re getting ready to start middle school, and they may be introduced to situations where they need to have the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model that they were talking about today, and they need to have those strategies in place.”
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington is a long-time supporter of the D.A.R.E. program and emphasizes its importance to the deputies, teachers, students, and parents. The program is a semester-long curriculum taught by Sheriff’s deputies that emphasizes good decision skills. It also helps develops confidence-building and coping skills.
“I love it!” said SRO Payne. “One of the things that I think we want to keep with them is to remind them that by using the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model – I use it every day while I’m here; it helps me to make decisions – that they can take it anywhere they go in life.”
So what is the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model? It stands for: D – Define: Describe the problem, challenge or opportunity. A – Assess: What are your choices? R – Respond: Make a choice. Use the facts and information you have gathered. E – Evaluate: Review your decision.
During today’s ceremony, Principal Spinney welcomed everyone. Kylor Bates led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Deputy Payne; Superintendent Mitch Downey, Bossier Parish Schools; and Lt. Walt Hollis, Youth Services; spoke about the importance of making smart choices. They were also joined by Lt. Adam Johnson, director of security for Bossier Parish Schools, and Deputy Judy Williams, D.A.R.E. coordinator, to present the graduation certificates to the students.
Layla Mcgee was the D.A.R.E. report winner for Mrs. Amanda Dickey’s class, Hannah Williams was the winner for Mrs. Shannon Gary’s class, and Clayton Zahm was the essay winner for Mrs. Rosemary Grimm’s class. Taylor Hilton was the lucky winner for the drawing of Daren the Lion.
The students also recited the D.A.R.E. Pledge led by Annalyn Harris, and all the students danced and sang to “This Little Light.”
About 1,700 students in the 5th grade will graduate D.A.R.E. in Bossier Parish this school year. Waller Elementary School will hold its graduation on May 7, and Curtis Elementary will hold its graduation on May 9.
You can see more photos below (all photos courtesy of Lt. Bill Davis, Bossier Sheriff’s Office):