Stockton opened the ceremony by thanking several individuals who assisted with the program and graduation ceremony, including: Kathy Emo and the staff of the Barry County Sheriff's Office; Stockton's wife, Cheryl; and Sheriff Mick Epperly.
"This time a year ago, we didn't think we were going to have a DARE program anymore," said Stockton, "but an anonymous donor stepped forward to support the program and keep DARE in the schools. I want to take this time to thank that anonymous donor."
After Stockton's opening address, students read their winning drug resistance essays. This year's essay contest winners were: Tanner Chattam, of Shell Knob, and Haylee Hobbs, of Exeter.
"DARE is a life changing experience," said Hobbs. "It helps you say no to drugs, alcohol and tobacco and how to deal with stress and peer pressure."
Graduates had the opportunity to present their parents, teachers and other role models with paper flowers and balloons during the ceremony.
DARE graduation cards were presented to the students by Shell Knob teacher Mike Riepl and Exeter teacher Jay Palmer. The 2012 DARE graduates are listed below by school.
Shell Knob: Michael Bernsen, Delaney Bishop, Benjiman Boggs, Matthew Bonass, Tanner Chattam, William Hampton, Mary Hayse, Elizabeth Horine, Hailey Konsdorf, Chris Lemp, Gunnar McGill, Emily Miller, Rainy Shipman, Hunter Sparks, Quentin Steinmann, Jazlyn Waddle, Stephanie Ward and Peighten Whisman.
Exeter: Casey Ball, Rebecca Barton, Dalton Blake, Jon Blankenship, Jarrett Brattin, Emalee Davis, Jordan Eagan, Clayton Elders, Jacob Foster, Nicholas George, Michaela Hall, Haylee Hobbs, Leah Holden, Dawson Lasseter, Christapher Oxford, Ethan Robbins, Shayla Sports and Kelsey Vasey.
After closing remarks by Riepl, Stockton asked all students, parents, teachers and administrators to join in a circle of friends on the gym floor.