For The Morning Star
“On a scale of 10, I would rate this program as an 11,” said Katie Dennis, one of four student speakers at Tuesday’s graduation ceremony for 37 Grade 5 students from the DARE (Define Assess Respond Evaluate) program at Coldstream Elementary School.
Over the course of 10 weeks, RCMP Cons. James Spoor volunteered his time and expertise to present the program, which provides students not only with basic information about tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, but introduces them to decision-making tools, the knowledge and practice to recognize and resist peer pressure and positive alternatives to drug use and violent behavior in a positive atmosphere.
“I read all your reports last night,” said Spoor, “and there were some good pledges and some good humour as well.”
Spoor has a direct connection with the school because his daughter is a student there. As an RCMP officer, he has seen the consequences of drug abuse, and the program is designed to give younger students the skills and knowledge they need before they reach secondary school.
“Const. Spoor made things fun,” said Dennis.
Cpl. Emilia Hayden, who is responsible for the DARE program in the South East District of B.C. praised the students for the work they had done.
“But,” she said, “the lessons don’t stop here. Life will have a lot of challenges.”
Hayden thanked the parents in attendance at the ceremony, and said that the best drug prevention comes from home.
“I hope you use this program as a gateway, that you keep communication open.”
Parent Christine Magnus said her daughter brought the program home and talked about it.
“The timing is excellent, and it has opened doors with us.”
Stacy Pavlov said her daughter, Natasha, was excited about taking the program.
“It’s valuable, and easy for the students to understand. At their age, they still listen to what authority has to say, and the seeds have been planted.”
For Spoor, it’s the fifth time he has presented the program, but the first time in Vernon.
“We had smaller classes in Anaheim Lake and 100 Mile House, but the kids here were great.”
After the presentation of their certificates by Hayden, Spoor and Cpl. Gerry Kovacs the students, who wore DARE T-shirts, were treated to cake and fruit drinks.