5th Grade Students Graduated DARE Under a New Officer

March 8, 2022


Officer Skyler Richardson giving the DARE essay contest grand prize to the winner, Olivia Broyles.

The Fair Grove 5th grade class recently had their annual DARE graduation on Wednesday, February 16th. The students finished their DARE education by writing essays and hosting a graduation ceremony. 

DARE is a program that started in 1983 in Los Angeles. DARE was made to help educate and protect students all across the nation. DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education and their main goal is to teach refusal skills, drug abstinence and peer resistance that can help keep children out of hard or tough situations. Every year, an officer comes to the school with the DARE organization to educate the 5th grade students. 

This year, the 5th graders at Fair Grove Middle School got a new DARE officer after the retirement of Officer Wagoner who had previously been running DARE. Officer Skyler Richardson has been teaching the students for months about drug and alcohol refusal skills. This is not only Richardson’s first year at Fair Grove, but his first year ever teaching the DARE program. 

I had a blast teaching D.A.R.E. this year,” exclaimed Richardson. “I had so much fun getting to be in the classrooms, interacting with the kids, and answering all their creative questions.” 

Richardson has been interested in DARE ever since he was first taught back in grade school. “I decided to start teaching DARE because I remember my DARE Officer from when I was in school. I remember him coming into our class and teaching us about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, how to be responsible, and how much of an impact it had on me,” Richardson explained. He is very passionate about introducing healthy habits and decision making skills to students. 

One of the students that Richardson got to teach this year was Olivia Broyles (5). Broyles was the winner of this year’s DARE educational essay competition and was able to read what she has learned aloud to her fellow classmates. The winner of the competition was decided by Officer Richardson and Mrs. Anna Ray, the 5th grade English teacher. 

Ray has been working with the students all year to help perfect the grammar and punctuation skills that would be necessary to write these essays. After each student presented their work with their individual classes, they were later narrowed down to determine the winner. “The overall winner was selected by looking at the writing style, grammar and effectiveness of the essay,” stated Ray. After thorough consideration, Broyles was chosen to receive the grand prize which included a water bottle, a medal, and a stuffed animal of the DARE mascot, Daren the Lion. 

Broyles wasn’t the only winner among the Fair Grove 5th grade class, every student learned important lessons about refusal skills and learned strategies to confront difficult situations. This is important for young students as they will be able to guide themselves toward safe and responsible habits in the future.

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