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For first time since Herkimer DARE inception, all students graduate from program

By WKTV News

HERKIMER, N.Y. - On Thursday, February 16, 2012, the Herkimer Elementary School held its 2012 DARE graduation where 77 students successfully graduated from the fourteen-week program.

During the program, students were educated on building resistance techniques to alcohol, drugs and violence. They learned to consider consequences, resist pressure, and ways to say no, along with the effects of the media, stress alternatives, conflict resolution, anti-violence, improving self-esteem, risk taking, and decision making.

This was all done in the class room and taught by a police officer.

In order for the students to graduate, they all have to participate in class, be present and complete a DARE essay, which was reviewed by the teachers and counts as an English grade. The essay has to include what was learned and a pledge stating their life goals to living a drug and violence free life.

Herkimer Police said that in five years of teaching DARE in public schools, this is the first year that all of the students completed the essay and all of the students graduated the program.

An essay winner from each class is picked and an overall essay winner was picked, with each essay winner receiving a $25 gift card which was graciously donated by Mr. Robert Brenchley on behalf of the Herkimer Adirondack Bank. They also received another $25 gift card, both of which can be used anywhere.

The overall essay winner also received a $250 scholarship to the Herkimer County Community College. This scholarship can be used for books when they start college or they can use it for the "College Now" program where students can enroll during their high school years.

The HCCC scholarship was presented by the HCCC Admissions Director Robert Palmieri. Mackenzie Adamek, Emily Jory and Destiney McDavid where the class essay winners.

Samantha Cano was the overall essay winner and won the HCCC scholarship.

"All of the students did an excellent job and should be very proud of themselves," said Herkimer Police Officer Steven Elwood. "All of the students received a diploma, graduation metal and everyone enjoyed refreshments at the end of the ceremony. I hope that they can fulfill their promises to themselves and stay drug and violence free."

Members of the Village of Herkimer Village Board, the Chief of Police and Captain, members of the Herkimer School board and numerous family members came in support of the graduates.

Officer Elwood said the DARE program is only possible because of the community support and donations made by local businesses.

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