A total of 36 students in Grades 5 and 6 from Hutton Elementary School in Grand Forks graduated from the RCMP’s DARE program at a special ceremony on May 20. Attending the ceremony were Cst. Nicki-Jo Wolfram, Cst. Angie Wuters and Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison.
Also on hand were Mayor Frank Konrad and councillors Chris Thompson and Chris Hammett, as well as parents of the graduates.
The DARE program is a course for Grade 5 students throughout the province. DARE stands for Drug and Alcohol Resistant Education and helps provide steps for youth to resist peer and other pressures.
“It’s a program the RCMP offers to youth,” said Wolfram, the main instructor.
The program had not been offered in Grand Forks for several years due to the lack of a qualified instructor. Wolfram, who started with the Grand Forks detachment last August, has taken her DARE training and was glad to teach the course at Hutton.
“We feel it’s important to have positive role models for our youth and that our youth need to have a good working relationship with the police,” she said.
“If we can get into a scenario where the kids can see us in a positive, interactive light versus (them just seeing us) out there doing our jobs.”
Hutton is the only school Wolfram was able to offer the course to this year. She is hoping to expand the program to include Perley and Christina Lake next year.
Students in the program were taught to use a four-step DARE decision-making model designed to help them engage in critical thinking, empowering them to make healthy choices and take charge of their lives.
The session-ending ceremony started with skits and presentations from several of the students followed by all the graduates receiving their certificates from Wolfram.
“We had a great response from the kids,” said Wolfram. “They were enthusiastic. They picked it up quickly. They just wanted to learn everything.”