DARE graduation celebrates good choices, life skills | CraigDailyPress.com

DARE graduation celebrates good choices, life skills

East Elementary School fifth-graders Colton Jones, Kori King and Madason Laman wait expectantly in the wings for their names to be called during the DARE graduation held at Craig Middle School Tuesday. The program graduated 179 students this year.

— Excitement and anticipation permeated the Craig Middle School auditorium Tuesday morning as 179 fifth-graders waited to hear their names called to walk across the stage and collect their certificates.

The kids, along with parents, law enforcement officers, teachers and community leaders, were there to mark their graduation from DARE, a program designed to teach kids how to make good choices and steer clear of drug use.

Moffat County's fifth-grade students went through the 10-week program in either the spring or fall, led by Craig Police Department's school resource officer Norm Rimmer.

"We still teach them about drugs, about alcohol, about tobacco, but as we know, it doesn't really do us good to stand up there and tell the kids not to do it," Rimmer told the audience. "Now we teach kids about life choices… We help them raise self-esteem… we teach them conflict resolution skills, they learn how to communicate, they learn skills they can take with them to middle school, to high school and on into their lives."

There to congratulate the students was Craig Mayor Ray Beck, who encouraged the kids to make smart choices. Craig resident and owner of Cramer Flooring, Tom Cramer, also spoke to the students and shared the difficult story of his past as a meth user.

"I became a drug addict and it led to me going to jail, it led to me losing custody of all three of my kids, and it just wasn't the life that I wanted to live, but my choices led to that," Cramer said. "What I would like to say to you kids is the choices you make today as fifth-graders can affect you later in life… I just encourage you guys to make good decisions and when you make mistakes, please don't let that define you."

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At least 10 law enforcement officers were there to show support for the students and the program, including Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume, whose son, Kadin, was among those graduating from the program.

"I was a DARE instructor early in my law enforcement career. For me, it was pretty powerful from that standpoint… watching my son complete the program and walk across the stage," Hume said. "They learn how their decisions, no matter what they are, do have consequences, and consequences can be both good and bad."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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