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Students pledge ‘no’ to dope, violence, tobacco

DARE Graduation02BIG CYPRESS — Peer pressure was turned upside down May 29 when Ahfachkee School kindergarten, third- and fifth-grade students were honored for taking a stance against drugs, violence and tobacco.

With Seminole Police Officer Michele Short at the helm, children pledged allegiance to American and Seminole flags and then to the international Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, a worldwide law enforcement-driven effort that teaches children how to resist negative and illegal behavior.

“D.A.R.E. helps youth learn to think their way through problems for better outcomes and so they all become better citizens,” Short said.

The program also encourages good manners toward all people, understanding for people with different ways of life and standing up against bullies.

Fifth-grade students were especially applauded for meeting D.A.R.E. graduation requirements: attending meetings regularly, completing a D.A.R.E. activity workbook and entering an essay contest about what they learned from the program.

“(D.A.R.E.) keeps me positive and drug free and taught me how to make positive choices,” David Bald Eagle read to the assembly from his essay.

Gordon Jumper wrote: “D.A.R.E. helped me learn how to be safe and how drinking and smoking can hurt your body.”

Precious Jimmie, who did not attend the assembly, won first place for her essay that highlighted the importance of learning how to help bullied students.

Other fifth-grade D.A.R.E. graduates were Damien Fish, Brandi Osceola, Leo Osceola-Onco, Liberty Robbins and Willie Smith.

Seminole Police Chief William Latchford praised all D.A.R.E. participants.

“Like all of our officers who took an oath to protect and serve the community so did you … Drugs and violence are not in your future,” Latchford said.