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DARE holds graduation at PC Elementary

By Staff
Melissa Cason
PHIL CAMPBELL – The room was filled with kids wearing black t-shirts with gold writing. Each student wore the shirts with pride, smiling over their accomplishment.
Franklin County Drug Awareness Resistance Education Program Officer Mike Franklin said the day was a good day as he presented the fifth-graders with their DARE certificates.
"These certificates and shirts are not just given away," Franklin said. "They have to be earned, and you have worked hard this year."
Franklin had each teacher recognize each student by standing in the informal DARE graduation held Tuesday afternoon.
Before the presentation of the awards, Principal Jackie Ergle told the students how important the lessons that Franklin had taught them were, and that those lessons should be carried throughout life.
"One of the most important lessons you will learn is to stay drug free," Ergle said. "It's something you need to learn early, and carry it with out throughout life."
Ergle explained that peer pressure will become great, but each of them would need to be strong in order to resist peer pressure in life not just in school.
"Drug addiction happen when you are young, but it can also happen when you an adult. That's why it is so important that you take these lessons with you in life."
In order to qualify for the graduation, each student had to write an essay, and score at least 70 in the DARE book.
Franklin told the students that the day was bittersweet for him because he was happy they had completed the DARE program, but he is sad to see their time together come to an end.
"The time we've spent together I see as a special blessing," Franklin said.
Award winners were also recognized at the graduation. Awards were given for the best essay in each class and the highest DARE book grade.
"I had some of the most wonderful essays from this group," Franklin said. "I am proud of each and every one of you. I wish I could give you all an award, but the best award is to have a good life."
The DARE book award winners are Bailey Thompson, Niles Butts, and Eli Crandall. The essay award winners are Kelley Presley, Holly Hargett, and Kelsey Bullock. The essay runners-up are Noah Williams, Esmeralda Montoya, and Hope Cook.
The DARE program is held at Phil Campbell Elementary every fall semester, and is funded through the Franklin County Sheriff's Department. Supplies for the program are funded through donations made to the Franklin County DARE Program. For more information on the program, call 332-8811.