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Sacred Heart wraps up DARE program

On May 17, the fifth-graders in Marilee Reilly’s class at Sacred Heart Catholic School celebrated as they concluded eight weeks of education and activities in the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program led by Salisbury Police officer A.M. Cooper.
During this eight-week course, students learned about the personal and social consequences of substance abuse and violence. And they practiced the skills they need to avoid involvement with drugs and alcohol as well as with gangs and violence. Officer Cooper used the school’s technology to present the dangers associated with making bad decisions.
Students participated in group activities designed to teach how to avoid negative influences and instead, focus on their strengths and potential.
Salisbury City Council member Maggie Blackwell was the keynote speaker at the graduation. She spoke directly to the fifth-graders as she urged the students to continue the strong “no use” theme that they were taught. Blackwell told the students that she was “100 years old” and that she may be too old to serve on the council one day. Therefore, she wanted each to be a strong leader so that they may one day serve our community.
This year, Joseph Clark was the program’s essay winner. As part of the requirement for the program, each student completed an essay detailing what they had learned from the program and making a personal pledge to stay drug-, alcohol- and violence-free.
Cooper collected the papers, which were judged by a group of cadets she oversees. She announced the results during the graduation. Clark read his essay during the ceremony to students, faculty/administration, parents and special guests.
“Since the first time trying drugs may be the last,” Clark read, “I will not have a first time.”
The class performed the DARE song, “I Will Dare.” The lyrics serve as a mantra to the students:
D – I won’t do drugs
A – Won’t have an attitude
R – I will respect myself
E – I will educate ME
Faculty, staff, family and friends joined the celebration and a reception hosted by the grade parents.

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