D.A.R.E. Graduation

By Kate Gaier
4:30 pm January 13, 2007

Deja Hadley, a fifth grader at Harper Elementary School in Thomasville, is learning an important life lesson. All year she's been taking classes in Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as the D.A.R.E. program.

Deja Hadley said, "I learned how to control peer pressure, I learned how not to get caught up in drugs. I learned how to be with the right people at the right time."

Forty three students at Harper are graduating from the D.A.R.E. program, a class that came close to being canceled because of the lack of funding.

Kimberly Peeks has a daughter graduating and said, "I hope it always remains because any educational tool that you can use to teach children on the level that they're on, about the fight against drugs, it's an excellent thing and I think it should always remain in the school system."

Peek says her daughter comes home almost every day sharing things she learned in the D.A.R.E. class.

OFC Penny Hembree is the D.A.R.E. instructor and commented on what the students learn.

"Everything from tobacco; we talked about drugs like marijuana, inhalants, but mostly I think they got a lot out of the friendships and the healthy decisions that they learned how to make."

With the class work behind them, now the students dare to be the best they can be. The D.A.R.E. program hung in the balance until mid-September when the city and the county came to an agreement on how to fund the program.