"This has been a tragic year," said Barry County DARE Officer Larry Stockton. "Drinking and driving cost one little girl from our area her life. When people say that they don't hurt anyone but themselves when they use drugs or alcohol, you know that is not true."
Stockton was referring to the death of Cassville Intermediate School fourth grade student Melissa Kief, who died in a traffic crash that occurred south of Butterfield on Feb. 19. Kief's father is from Washburn.
"I used to think that something like that would never happen to me," said Stockton. "Two weeks ago a drunk driver ran into my pickup and my two little girls were in the truck with me. They survived, and I am so thankful."
Wheaton Elementary School Principal Eileen Ford also reminded students about the crash that claimed the life of Wheaton High School student Jessica Pettingill in May of 2010. Purdy teenager Sierra Wood, who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash, has been charged with manslaughter.
"I hope you will put the information you have learned in DARE to good use," said Stockton. "The road ahead of you has many choices, and there are consequences for what you choose to do.
"Use the DARE decision-making model to make decisions and remember that you don't have to say yes," said Stockton. "There are other things you can do besides going with the crowd."
The DARE program requires each sixth grade student to write an essay showcasing what they learned in the program.
One student from each district was selected to read their essay at last week's ceremony. Essay contest winners included: Jerica Lawrence, of Southwest; Jacy Taylor, Purdy; and Baili Resz, of Wheaton. Each student received a $50 savings bond from Security Bank.
Stockton also recognized four students who were selected as runners-up in the essay contest. They were: Brianna Deason and Morgan Mitchell, of Southwest; Edith Garcia, of Purdy; and Karlee Mason, of Wheaton.
The 2010 DARE graduates are listed below by school:
Southwest: Nathaniel Aday, John Anderson, Jymme Ash, Chelsi Atkinson, Jesse Baird, Michael Banks, Shayla Bruno, Dustin Burrow, Sarah Catron, Paton Clay, Cheristi Cline, Darcie Colunga, James Colunga, Whitney Curry, Hunter Dearborn, Brianna Deason, Sydney Delossantos, Cody Durossette, Alyssa Erwin, Martin Hackett, Michael Hackett, Donald Hayworth, Kendra Hayworth, Kathrine Hedden, Hayley Hendrix, Jay Henry, Bryan Jimenez, Mikayla Kellogg, Michael Kidwell, Nicholas Kirchberg, Breann Ladd, Hunter Laney, Jerica Lawrence, Angelica Lawson, Brianna Learned, Sydney Leroy, McKenzie McClelland, Stacie McCormick, Brittany McGarrah, Rebekah McKeever, Mallory Mettlach, Morgan Mitchell, Levi Moore, Dylan Marcus, Tuff Morgan, Carl Nagy, Payton Osburn, Hannah Outhouse, Angel Phillips, Devon Resz, Austin Roberts, Colton Roller, Dylan Roller, Steven Skinkis, Elmer Smith, Shelton Smith, Joshua Stephens, Felicia Taylor, Haley Tipton, JR Vinson, Sean Waynick, Skyler Willer, Daniel Williams, Matthew Wilson, Elizabeth Wolfe, Landon Wright and Cole York.
Purdy: Saima Akhtar, Ricky Aldaba, Livingston Alden, Trent Bolinger, Rion Boyd, Britany Bricker, Tommy Burch, Daniel Burke, Alisha Burnside, Cheyenne Click, Dusty Craig, Taylor Dill, Chris Drost, Logan Easley, Madison Easley, Carly England, Edith Garcia, Veronica Garcia, Briana Granados, MJ Granados, Morgan Grissom, Audrey Hancock, Selena Hang, Leighton Harkey, Sami House, CJ Jarvis, Darby Knatcal, Justin Lanore, Bailey Miller, Zach Miller, Liz Moore, Steven Murray, Dalton Pope, Kaden Propps, Esvin Rodriguez, Morgan Schilly, Jacy Taylor, Joseph Thacker, Megan Thomas, Cheyenne Tiner, Austin Trent, Ken Vang, Diana Villa and Hannah White.
Wheaton: Daniel Anderson, Jason Anderson, Tate Banks, Kelsey Bell, Jacob Bertram, Jayce Brattin, Ashly Flores, Adison Goostree, Michelle Hang, Tina Hang, Daniel Harris, Kyla Hicks, Emily Killion, Sydnee Lombard, Karlee Mason, Jesse Potarf, Michael Priest, Kade Reed, Weston Repola, Baili Resz, Arianna Salas, Shalea Tate, Tyler Wallace, Connie Xiong, Jennifer Yang, Lia-Boa Yang and Carmen Young.
Delossantos, of Southwest, Boyd, of Purdy, and Priest, of Wheaton, were also presented with Daren Awards.