Annual 5th grade DARE graduation on March 30 to host MBN’s Fisher

From staff reports

Students in Winston County will be celebrating DARE graduation Friday, March 30 at 9 a.m. Friday. “The students seem to love the curriculum and the activities,” said officer DARE officer Tonya McWhirter. McWhirter is the instructor for 11classes of fifth grade students at Louisville Municipal School District and Winston Academy. Those students who completed the program will graduate from the 9-week D.A.R.E. course March 30. The graduation will feature Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director Marshall Fisher. Fisher was appointed to the post in 2005. He had previously served with the DEA and has over 35 years of law enforcement experience. Fisher will speak on drug usage and making good decisions. During the DARE program, students were educated on building resistance techniques to alcohol, drugs and violence. They also learned to consider consequences, resist pressure, and ways to say no, along with the effects of the media, stress resolution alternatives, conflict resolution, anti-violence, improving self- esteem, risk taking, and decision making. This was all done in the classroom and taught by DARE officer McWhirter who teaches the fifth grade program. A teaches the 7th grade program is taught by officer Edward Hunt. “Our main focus is helping students make good decisions,” said officer McWhirter. In order for the students to graduate, they had to participate in class, and completed a DARE essay, which was reviewed by the teachers. The essay had to include what was learned and a pledge stating their life goals to living a drug and violence free life. “DARE gives them a model to think before they act and to make good decisions,” said Officer McWhirter. An essay winner from each class is picked and an overall essay winner will also be chosen at the graduation event. “The students did an excellent job and should be very proud of themselves,” said Officer McWhirter. “All of the students who completed the course will receive a recognition of graduation. I hope that they can fulfill their promises to themselves and stay drug and violence free.” McWhirter invited all the parents and community supporters to the graduation on March 30. Officer Whirter said the DARE program is only possible because of the city’s, the school districts’ and community’s support.