Maxwell Elementary celebrates DARE graduates

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Colusa County fifth graders have been putting their heart and soul into the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program for years, but few schools have stepped up to meet the challenges like Maxwell Elementary School.

At Thursday’s D.A.R.E. graduation, Colusa County Sheriff’s Deputy Leanne Knutson, the county’s school resource officer, said each Maxwell student in the program earned at least one challenge coin.

The coins are given out to students who complete specific tasks.

“I don’t think I’ve had a school where every student received a coin,” Knutson said.

The D.A.R.E program is designed to give elementary school-age youth facts and current information about the harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol, and other harmful drugs.

“Everyone wins in D.A.R.E.,” Knutson said.

Knudsen recognized Emma Hendrix, 10, of Maxwell for earning the most challenge coins.

For her effort, Hendrix received a basketball.

As part of the program, each student wrote an essay describing how the D.A.R.E. and its Decision-Making Model helps him or her process their thoughts in order to make safe and responsible choices, and to resist peer pressure.

Shelby Dunlap, 10, who was chosen to read her winning essay, said students should rely on what they learned in the program when faced with negative influences.

“You should use D.A.R.E. if someone offers you drugs,” Dunlap said. “Even if you are being bullied, you can use D.A.R.E.”

Knutson, Colusa County Sheriff’s Lt. Neil Pearson, and fifth-grade teacher Kyle Cabral presented certificates to approximately 30 students recognizing their completion of the program.