Batesville students ‘dare’ to graduate
Batesville Daily Guard - October 2007
BATESVILLE-Chase Armstrong is all smiles on graduation day. He looks around at his classmates as he waits to be called to the stage. Though only 11 years old, the ceremony is an important step in his young life. It just might save his life.
The Batesville sixth-grader is a Drug Abuse Resistance Education graduate, more commonly known as D.A.R.E.
More than 30 Batesville middle school students joined Armstrong’s distinction Tuesday as they too graduated from the program, receiving certificates of completion.
Independence County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cord Davidson is in his second year of shaping futures with the D.A.R.E. program. He said his job is a rewarding one that hopefully pays off in the long run. He said without community involvement the program would not be as successful as it is.
“I have a lot of support,” he said, noting seven businesses sponsor activities. “It’s just been great.”
Armstrong said the experience left an impression on him. He said he will never touch drugs, relating that illegal substances can alter appearances, change behaviors and rot teeth.
“I learned it’s not right to do drugs,” he said of the nationwide program. “You should stay away from marijuana, tobacco, meth and other drugs.”
Classmate Scarlett Bentley, 12, also took away a host of lessons from her time in D.A.R.E. Her thoughts on drugs won her first place in Davidson’s essay contest.
“The impact it had on me is that I never want to do any (drugs), and I don’t want to be around it,” she said.
William J. Bryant, assistant special agent-in-charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the Little Rock Field Office, said DARE graduation is a big step to curbing drug activity. “This tells me they want to live a drug-free and violence-free life,” he said of the students. “To be successful in life, you have to do that.”
D.A.R.E. is designed to teach students about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs. The program also examines peer pressure and offers students alternatives to drug use.
To graduate from the program, students had to complete workbook exercises and journal entries while in class during their D.A.R.E. lessons. They also had to write an essay about what they learned in the class.
D.A.R.E. began in 1983 as a project of the Los Angeles Police Department. The program has grown over the years and is currently taught in 75 percent of the nation’s school districts.