Students from three elementary schools graduated last Thursday - graduated with a few skills to help them resist alcohol, drugs and violence.
Approximately 80 students from Cedar Grove, Davis Bay and Halfmoon Bay elementary schools graduated from the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program at a special ceremony held at the Chatelech Theatre.
At the ceremony, organ-ized by Sunshine Coast RCMP and School District No. 46, each of the students was presented with a DARE graduation certificate. Two students were selected from each class to read their DARE essay in front of family and friends.
DARE was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in more than 43 countries around the world. DARE is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 how to resist peer pressure and live productive lives free of drugs and violence.
Const. Chris Pillsworth, the Coast's DARE program co-ordinator, taught the students at Davis Bay. Const. Todd Creed taught the students from Halfmoon Bay, and Const. Carmen Swicheniuk taught the students from Cedar Grove.
The officers took the students, all in grades 5 and 6, through 10 weeks of in-class study. Students had to complete assignments in a workbook, be drug free, have good attendance and write a DARE essay in order to graduate from the program.
"Bringing police into the classroom is just another way of connecting with youth," Pillsworth said. "We get to show there is a different side to police officers."
Just a few years ago, the Sunshine Coast detachment had only two officers qualified to teach the DARE program. There are now five fully-trained officers, and Pillsworth hopes to have all the schools on the Coast involved with the program by next year.
This year's DARE grad class includes:Cedar Grove Emily Backs, Jazz Chodak, Alexander Christian, Jayde Duranleau, Harrison Duxbury-Sleep, Audrey English, Lindsay Forrest, Brianna Frewin, James Irwin, Erik Keyser, Malcolm Leinberger, Mikayla Lewis, Xann Lyle, Kori Mulligan, Cole Nadelko, Brittnee O'Reilly, William Owen, Sara Perry, Steven Phare, Miles Pierron, Kaitlyn Samson, Gillian Sanders, Christine Tait, Tandia Termuende, Miles Tingley, Jamie Webb, Cameron Colleypriest, Sydney Lambert, Sam McLennan, Forrest Patton, Alyssa Zucchet.Davis BayMarco Brambilla, Magen Brewer, Felicia Browning, Jerrod Bruni, Kirsten Calder-Sutt, Mary Casey, Camille Dallaire, Gabriel Dallaire, Robert Dixon, Orion Franske, Alissa Harkin, Savannah Helsdon, Brendan Hickey, Hansen Lim, Elvis Lu, Brianna Lumb, Emma Marquis, David McDonald, Dallas McKinney, Cameron McLean, Matthew Noel, Scott Parfitt, Rebecca Stanley-Clarke, Alexandria Todoruk, Monika Van Vliet, Lance Vian.Halfmoon BayTamara Archer, Sean Clarke, Madi Craig, Graden Deasey, Kiri Dwyer, Andrew Flockhart, Clare Griffin, Zoe Hadeler Lund, Connor Kobus, Christopher Lawson, Kalle Laycock, Krista Mackillop, Jessica McKee, Kelly McKee, Lance Mercer, Nathan Mount, Quinn Paul, Sawyer Paine, Samantha Pinter-Thompson, Reanna Popp, Eli Richard, Caitlynn Riddell, Coreen Saunders, Stephanie Schweighardt, Brad Seabrook, Max Shoemaker, Tristan Sweet, Devin Trokicic, Dawn Wright.