Fifth-graders graduate from D.A.R.E.
Graduates dressed in identical clothing were called one-by-one to walk across the stage and be congratulated for a job well done.
High school graduation? Not quite. These "graduates" were Lansing Intermediate School fifth-graders who had officially completed the D.A.R.E. program, and their graduation was May 25 at the school.
Lansing Police Officer Billy Blackwell II had visited each of the fifth-grade classes the previous 10 weeks as part of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.
The ceremony in the Intermediate School gymnasium began with the Pledge of Allegiance by class representatives Adam DeHann and Chance Martel, followed by a speech by Blackwell. Next, the Loyal Lansingers choir sang "Picture a Playground."
Lansing Police Chief Steve Wayman spoke next, and asked the children, "Did you all have fun with Officer Blackwell this year?" "Yes!" the children answered resoundingly.
Blackwell then called up one student from each of the six classes to read essays about avoiding the use of illegal substances. After each essay reading, the student's class came up to receive D.A.R.E. graduation certificates.
MaKayla Chambers, Cole Taylor, Heather Wiehe, Lauren Hamilton, Lakyn Henning, and Lane Carpenter were the essay readers.
Earlier last month, the students in the program attended the annual Metro D.A.R.E. festival at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
Retro Bill, a national TV and radio personality and official D.A.R.E. safety buddy, served as emcee. Sizzle, the Kansas City T-Bones mascot, Ad-Lib-N, a band composed of a Kansas City, Kan., police officer and Edwardsville Elementary School music teacher Libby Whittle, and Tonganoxie High School student Joey Glenn, a country music artist, also entertained the students.