A ceremony was held Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the honor of Florida A&M University’s Developmental Research School students who completed the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.
D.A.R.E. is a drug awareness and prevention program geared to teaching elementary students alternatives to drug use.
Officer Erica Herring, director of the D.A.R.E. program at DRS, believes the program is important and provides an example for the youth to handle their problems.
“It’s a blessing because we have so many young kids that are being taught the wrong things,” Herring said. “D.A.R.E. is here to keep them on the right track and teach them to remain drug and violence free.”
The students are taught decision-making concepts to help them deal with peer pressure related and other areas of life.
“We teach them to first recognize the problem, the second step is to assess the situation, then respond,” Herring said.
The school graduated approximately 50 third and fifth grade students from the D.A.R.E. program.
All of the students who graduated received certificates for the successful completion of the program.
FAMU Chief of Police Calvin Ross, Deputy Chiefs John Earst and James Lockley, and several other law enforcement officers from the Tallahassee area were on hand to congratulate the graduates and help pass out awards.
Principal Adrian Peters said she felt honored to have a program like D.A.R.E at DRS and believes that with the continued support of the community, the graduation rates of both the program and the school will rise.
“Police Chief Ross has made a commitment to us and we’re excited about that,” Peters said. “Our goal next year is to have a one hundred percent graduation rate, not just in DARE but DRS in general.”
In addition to the graduation certificates, several students were awarded for individual efforts to promote the D.A.R.E. principles.
All of the graduates were asked to write an essay on what D.A.R.E. means to them.
Two fifth-grade students were chosen to read their essays during the ceremony.
They were awarded trophies and special certificate.
Also, fifth grade student Imani Wilson received the “Do the Right Thing” award for her community service efforts and help spreading awareness about staying drug, alcohol, and violence free.
“I didn’t know that I was going to win the award, but it feels good,” Wilson said.
FAMU-DRS is the only school in Leon County that has the D.A.R.E. program.
D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles, California.
According to the D.A.R.E. Web site the program has been adopted by seventy-five percent of all schools in the United States and more than 43 countries around the world.
Information on how to start a D.A.R.E. program is available on the program’s Web site at www.dare.com.