W.T. Lewis holds first DARE graduation ceremony Thursday morning

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Pictured left to right: (front row) Grayson Lewis, essay winner for Mrs. Rowland's class; Kyleigh Davis, essay winner for Mrs. Favor's class; Dahja Coleman, winner of the Daren the Lion drawing; and Blake Wilson, essay winner for Mrs. Hawn’s class. (back row) Capt. Doug Lauter, Special Services, Bossier Sheriff’s Office; Deputy Judy Williams, D.A.R.E. Coordinator; Lt. Adam Johnson, Director of Security, Bossier Parish Schools; Dep. Kelly Boudria, SRO, W.T. Lewis Elementary School; Dep. Marie Modica, D.A.R.E. Instructor; Principal Lisa Burns, W.T. Lewis Elementary School; and Superintendent Mitch Downey, Bossier Parish Schools. (Photo courtesy of Lt. Bill Davis, Bossier Sheriff’s Office)

Nearly 550 students in the 5th grade will graduate from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program this semester as they will soon depart elementary school and move on up to middle school where life’s challenges will be even tougher.

W.T. Lewis Elementary School held the first D.A.R.E. graduation for the spring semester here in Bossier Parish Thursday morning.  Those graduates will join a total of 1,700 students who will graduate from D.A.R.E. at 16 elementary schools in Bossier Parish this school year. 

  Lisa Burns, principal, W.T. Lewis Elementary, welcomed everyone.  Taylor Henry, Bossier Parish Student of the Year, led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Deputy Kelly Boudria, SRO, W.T. Lewis; Superintendent Mitch Downey, Bossier Parish Schools; Capt. Doug Lauter, Special Services; and Lt. Adam Johnson, Director of Security, Bossier Parish Schools encouraged the students to continue to make wise choices.  They then joined Deputy Marie Modica, D.A.R.E. instructor, and Deputy Judy Williams, D.A.R.E. coordinator, to present the graduation certificates to the students.

Blake Wilson was the D.A.R.E. report winner for Mrs. Hawn’s class, Kyleigh Davis was the winner for Mrs. Favor’s class, and Grayson Lewis was the essay winner for Mrs. Rowland’s class.  Dahja Coleman was the lucky winner for the drawing of Daren the Lion.

Bossier Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. officers know they have their hands full in teaching 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.

Here are the D.A.R.E. graduations that took place this semester:

·       W.T. Lewis Elementary               April 18

·       Elm Grove Elementary                 April 18

·       Haughton Elementary                 April 23

·       Waller Elementary                       May 7

·       Curtis Elementary                         May 9

The D.A.R.E program is highly promoted by Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington and is a semester-long curriculum taught by Sheriff’s deputies that emphasizes good decision skills for young people to avoid bullying, drugs, violence and other harmful behaviors. Students are also taught confidence-building and coping skills.

Deputies teach the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model:  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.