Pubdate: Wed, 26 May 2004
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2004 Record Searchlight - The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Christina Lucarotti


The Redding Convention Center roared with the sounds of nearly 1,000
enthusiastic fifth-graders Tuesday during the annual D.A.R.E. awards

Students from 14 schools celebrated graduating from the 17-week Drug
Abuse Resistance Education program with stomping, cheering and
boisterous applause.

Redding police Chief Leonard Moty congratulated the rowdy bunch and
encouraged them to resist peer pressure.

He asked the crowd what they will say when older kids offer them drugs
or alcohol in the coming years. The raucous answer: "No."

D.A.R.E. officers Linda Gisske and Mike Martin have been teaching the
students the dangers of drugs, alcohol and violence during one-hour
sessions once a week at schools.

The curriculum includes eight ways to say no, different types of peer
pressure and decision-making skills, Gisske said.

"I don't think kids can hear the right message enough," Gisske

While fifth grade may seem young, the program aims to give kids tools
for fighting peer pressure before they are faced with it, officials

Gisske said having positive contact with police officers also allows
students to see law enforcement in a good light.

But, she said, parents are the ones with the most influence over their
children. She says the three most common gateway drugs for parents to
be aware of are tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.

The rally's main event was the announcement of the top 10 poster and
essay winners, for which there were hundreds of entries, as well as
the D.A.R.E. students of the year.

Alexandra Wilkinson, 11, from Alta Mesa Elementary School read her
first-place essay at the rally.

She said she learned through the D.A.R.E. program that drugs and
violence are not for her.

"It's not like you can wake up another day and it will go away,"
Alexandra said after the rally. "Drugs are permanent."

Stacy Oldham from Mistletoe Elementary School won first place for her

2004 D.A.R.E. Students of the Year

A student from each school was honored Tuesday at the annual D.A.R.E.
awards rally.

Trevor Silva, Alta Mesa Elementary

Jaspreet Gill, Bonny View Elementary

Tyler Stevenson, Boulder Creek Elementary

Kayla Bryan, Buckeye Elementary

Jose Sanchez, Cypress Elementary

Kayly Bethany, Juniper Academy

Faith Reid, Lassen View Elementary

Travis Saito, Manzanita Elementary

Gabrielle Oleari, Mistletoe Elementary

Brittany Solinger, Rother Elementary

Janice Goekler, St. Joseph

Justine Coats, Shasta Meadows Elementary

Kathryn Abbott, Sycamore Elementary

Amy Holden, Turtle Bay Elementary 
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