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WDC sixth-graders graduate from DARE program

WDC sixth-graders graduated from the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. April 5 with a special ceremony honoring their achievement. Dana Pavek/WDC Schools.1 / 2
Janika Van Ourkerk proudly shows off her DARE graduation certificate. Dana Pavek/WDC Schools.2 / 2

Eighty WDC sixth-graders graduated from the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. April 5 with a special ceremony honoring their achievement.

Students participated in the nine-week program that not only teaches them the dangers of alcohol, drugs and tobacco use, but also ways to deal with a variety of situations they face at school and in everyday life, such as bullying and peer pressure.

Graduation speakers included Wadena Police Chief Naomi Plautz, DARE instructor/Police Officer Nick Grabe, WDC Middle/High School Principal Tyler Church, and WDC DARE coordinator/sixth-grade teacher Lori Grendahl.

Sixth-grade essay winners Kayla Meeks, Ally Pavek, Maggie Hegarty and Hailey Kircher read their essays on what they learned during their DARE classes.

Sixth-graders lined up and received their certificate from Officer Grabe and congratulatory handshakes from Chief Plautz, Principal Church and Wadena Elks Lodge secretary Linda Youngbauer.

The program ended with Wadena County Sheriff's Deputy Bryan Savaloja and his specially trained German Shepherd, Zeus, giving an "attack" demonstration (with Officer Grabe being the attack victim!), as well as answering questions from students and the audience about Zeus.

Students and families enjoyed cupcakes and pop to celebrate their graduation.

Special thanks to the Wadena Elks Lodge for their financial contributions to the DARE program. WDC is thankful the Elks Lodge makes the DARE program a priority, as well as Pepsi and Super One for providing refreshments for the graduation reception.

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