As the T-shirts they wore pledged, 171 Craig Intermediate School students vowed to steer clear of drugs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The CIS students donned the shirts during a Drug Abuse Resistance Education graduation ceremony Monday morning at Craig Middle School.
Although the featured speaker for Monday's ceremony, the colorful national school speaker Retro Bill, canceled his appearance, CIS students were praised nonetheless for completing the D.A.R.E. program, a cooperative effort between law enforcement and local schools.
Officer Storm Fallon, of the Craig Police Dep-artment, who teaches D.A.R.E. and also serves as a school resource officer, said students completed written assignments for the program, which "teaches them the ills of drug use." She said the program emphasizes the need for students to surround themselves with "people who support their decisions rather than pushing them into bad ones."
Two students -- Hannah Kirk and Paulina Hernandez -- were cited in particular Monday. They read their winning essays on resistance to drugs and other substances to the packed CMS auditorium.
"I don't know about you, but I would rather say no than go to jail," Kirk recited to the audience.
Added Hernandez, "The things I learned in D.A.R.E. can help me in the future. ... I plan to say no all the times I need until the person walks away."
Their essays will be forwarded to a state competition.
CIS principal Don Davidson lauded the students for their anti-substance abuse work and encouraged them to carry the lessons they learned through the D.A.R.E. program into the future. The principal also awarded each of the 171 students with their graduation certificates.
He asked the students to "continue to make the right choices and be the kind of great kids that you are.
"Just remember, everything you do ... matters," Davidson said. "Be what I call an enlarger. ... Don't think of yourself all of the time. Think about the other people around you."