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6th Grade Students Graduate from D.A.R.E. Program

Sixth grade students at Butler County Middle School graduated from their 10 week long course in Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as D.A.R.E. last Friday. Kentucky State Police Trooper Jeremy Smith, who has volunteered as the D.A.R.E. officer at BCMS for the past four years, gave hour long sessions two times a week to the 162 students. Each student received their graduation certificate at the end of the ceremony.

D.A.R.E. is a nation-wide effort on between participating school systems and local law enforcement to provide students with tools to avoid peer-pressure, bullying, how to make positive and healthy choices, and to live a drug-free and violence-free life.

"The reason everyone is here is because of you," BCMS Principal Jeff Jennings told the students, "Everyone has taken time out of their schedule to come here in the hopes that we can work together to help you stay away from drugs, and to help you build a great life for yourself . . . One bad decision here, one bad decision there can have a very negative impact on the rest of your life."

D.A.R.E. Essay Contest Runner-Up Tori Hampton and Trooper Smith

Several students received individual recognition during the course of the ceremony. Tori Hampton was recognized as the runner-up in the D.A.R.E. Essay Contest while Ellie Moore received top honors. Trooper Smith read Moore's winning essay to the crowd.

D.A.R.E. Essay Contest Winner Ellie Moore and Trooper Smith

"One thing I learned from D.A.R.E. that will keep me drug-free and avoid violence is that drugs can hurt you very badly," wrote Moore, "If someone ever offers you drugs, go by what D.A.R.E. stands for: D-Define, describe your problem, challenge, or opportunity; A-Assess, what are your choices; R-Respond, make a choice; and E-Evaluate, review your decision."

Students were also recognized for winning the word search contest. Carly Mitchell, Star Lawrence, Hannah Logan, Candice King, Brennan Grubb, and Cole Johnson each won the word search out of their class.

Zach and Trooper Eaton

In addition to the awards, a special presentation was given to the students. Throughout the course, Trooper Smith promised the students that he would bring a Trooper with his dog to the school and he delivered. Trooper First Class B.J. Eaton and his Belgian Malinois Zach demonstrated how Zach can help the Troopers find drugs. Trooper Eaton explained that Zach does not understand that drugs are bad, he just knows that he will get to play once he alerts on drugs.

6th grade teacher and D.A.R.E. program liason Debbie Brown said, "The students love the class, they respond to him (Smith), and it gives the kids a chance to see a trooper in a positive light too . . . I believe D.A.R.E. is a really good program and if it wasn't for the Youth Service Center, we wouldn't have been able to have it."

Trooper Smith says that serving as the D.A.R.E. Officer is something that he enjoys doing. "I've always enjoyed being around kids, I've got two kids of my own. I feel like the kids are our future and if we don't teach our kids now, then they won't have the tools necessary to go out into the world and to change it," said Smith.

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