Bucyrus hosts D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony for sixth grade students

Bucyrus hosts D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony for sixth grade students
Posted on 05/14/2015

Warmer weather gives way to the annual graduation season for high school seniors. But it also a time for another kind of graduation ceremony that focuses on younger students making a commitment to staying drug and alcohol free and making good choices. Bucyrus sixth grade students graduated from the D.A.R.E. program during a special ceremony May 6.

This is the first class of D.A.R.E. graduates since the program left the Bucyrus City School District several years ago, and Crawford County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Martin was very pleased with the program’s success in its first year back in Bucyrus.

"The teachers and district administrators welcomed me with open arms," Deputy Martin said. "I can not say enough good things about the Bucyrus students. By the end of the year, it was like I had been working with them since kindergarten."

During the course of the program, Deputy Martin asked the students to write essays focused on the theme of "What D.A.R.E. means to me." The winners of the contest included Samuel Rager, Caleigh Rister, Jericka Stephens and Callie Reynolds. These students read their winning essays aloud during the graduation ceremony.

"The essays are judged by a volunteer who reads over them and selects the winners based the time, effort and feeling the student put in to their work," Deputy Martin said. "The judge is sometimes a D.A.R.E. graduate of years past and sometimes from another county."

The D.A.R.E. program gives students the opportunity to meet and interact with local law enforcement officers while they are still in the formative stages of their lives. Working with students at this age gives Deputy Martin the opportunity to show students a side of law enforcement they don’t normally see.

"I think it is important that a Deputy can go into a classroom and instruct students on everything from safety to knowing the dangers of drugs and making good choices," Deputy Martin said. "We want them to know that officers care and we are not out there to just arrest someone or write someone a ticket."

The Crawford County D.A.R.E. program is completing its 25th year, and serves approximately 3,000 students from eight different schools in Crawford County. The program is supported by Crawford County Sheriff Scott Kent, and receives a small grant from the Ohio Attorney General's office.

"This program would not be possible without the financial support of local organizations and private donors, who help purchase materials for classroom instruction and graduation," Deputy Martin said. "Our goal is to raise additional funding for the program through our annual car show at Carl’s Auto Sales in Bucyrus June 27."

"I want to personally thank Sheriff Kent and Deputy Martin for their willingness to bring the D.A.R.E. program back to the Bucyrus City School District," Bucyrus Superintendent Kevin Kimmel said. "It was an outstanding graduation ceremony, and my hope is our students will carry the lessons learned in the D.A.R.E. program with them the rest of their lives."

To learn more about the Crawford County D.A.R.E. program, please contact Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Martin at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office at 419-562-7906.