Fuqua students learn about making choices with D.A.R.E.

Published 7:03 pm Saturday, February 25, 2023

The lower school students at Fuqua School are daring to be different by learning how to make good choices as they continue through school and prepare to enter their teenage years.

Each year, the fifth-grade class at Fuqua School partners with the Farmville Police Department to complete the D.A.R.E. program. On Friday, Feb. 17, the class was awarded diplomas, T-shirts and a treat for completing the course. 

For the past ten weeks, the fifth-grade class has met for an hour each week with Farmville Police Officer Kyle Britton, Farmville Police Chief Andy Ellington and other members of the police department to talk about the impacts of drugs, but also good decision-making. 

Fuqua students

Fifth grader Ashley Seiler received a medal from Officer Kyle Britton for winning the D.A.R.E. essay contest.

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“It’s important for children to understand the dangers of these decisions as they grow up and what these decisions can lead to as well as the benefits of living abstinent from this behavior,” said Sam Bowles, spokesperson for the Farmville Police Department. 

A different D.A.R.E. for Fuqua

According to Dara Tucker, head of school for the lower and middle school, this D.A.R.E. program is not like the one everyone is familiar with from the 1980s and 1990s. The program is famous for encouraging kids to say no to drugs, tobacco and alcohol, which is still an important part of the curriculum. Today, the program also focuses on other relevant topics like good decision-making, safe and responsible choices, peer pressure, bullying and good communication skills.

“Now with social media and television and things they have at their fingertips, there is more pressure and more obstacles for making good choices as they approach their teenage years,” said Tucker. 

To express what they learned, the students also participated in an essay contest. Ashley Seiler was the winner and received a medal for her hard work. 

Having the police department regularly come during the course of this program, both Tucker and Mindy Osborn, the lower and middle school counselor, hope that this will provide another positive role model for the students to look up to. As these students prepare to enter middle school, these officers along with parents, teachers and other trusted adults can serve as role models and a support system for students to become the best that they can be by making good decisions. 

“We appreciate this partnership with the Police Department to come into the school with extra support and knowledge and a good role model,” said Osborn.