A graduation ceremony for students in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program was held for the Perry Elementary School fifth graders Monday night, with Perry Police Department School Resource Officer Pat Jans presenting certificates to 130 PES students and 15 students from St. Pat’s.
Perry Police Department Officer Jans, Sgt. Jim Archer and Chief Eric Vaughn read aloud the winning DARE essays, while Officer Lourdes Clay, Officer Josh Sienkiewicz and several school administrators congratulated the new graduates individually and presented them with pencils, stickers and bookmarks as rewards.
Six essay contest winners were singled out for their achievements: Itzel Hernandez, Angel Rios, Addison Huntington, Gavin Kercheval, Karla Herrera and Ashlynd Hudnell.
The DARE programs began in the 1980s as part of President Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs. The mission of DARE involves “teaching students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives,” and DARE envisions “a world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance abuse and other dangerous behaviors.”