Madison Doyle, story and photos:
Edmonson County fifth grade students graduated from the D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program today, April 19, 2023. D.A.R.E is a program that teaches students how to make responsible choices, to not give into peer pressure, and the permanently negative effects drugs and alcohol can have. The program was taught over the last couple of months by Kentucky State Police Trooper Daniel Priddy.
The ceremony started by Lisa Whobrey thanking the parents and community that came out, and then asked students Jones Young and Emory Madison to lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Following that, student Charlie Lindsey sang the National Anthem, and received a standing ovation.
Trooper Priddy had to attend a two-week class in order to teach this program. Director of Community Education Lisa Whobrey said that normally to have D.A.R.E, the costs ends up being around $5,000 or more. Whobrey said that Priddy took it upon himself to get sponsors for the program so that it would be completely free for Edmonson County.
Priddy said that not only does this class teach kids why you should say no to drugs or alcohol, it teaches them about responsibility.
"We all have a responsibility, I have many as an adult, as an officer, you guys have many here at school as students, and even at home with your parents," Priddy said.
He went on to thank the school system for "being so supportive" of this program.
"I want to thank Edmonson County School System for allowing me to come into this school and do this," he said. "Some people don't realize that a lot places don't do this anymore, because it takes kids out of their regular curriculum and takes time out of the day. I'm thankful that the teachers here were so supportive and got these kids in and out of class to do this, because it truly is so important."
He also thanked all of the students for their respect and time put into him and the class, and also said he had a long list of donors to thank for making this possible, but that there were too many to name.
Judge/Executive Scott Lindsey also spoke today. He also thanked the school system for allowing this program to take place.
"I want to thank our school system for allowing this program to still take place here, it's a very important thing and you all will remember this for the rest of your lives," Lindsey said. "Trooper Priddy, Sheriff Vincent, and myself recently attended a class about opioids addiction, and about all of the overdoses going on not just in our country, but right here close to home. I'm not saying this to scare you, but you need to know this stuff is real and this exactly why we have this program."
There was also an essay contest for the students in the class. Fifth grade student Sophie Dunham was the overall winner and she read her essay to the crowd.
Trooper Priddy was presented with the official D.A.R.E officer pin, and a plaque from the 5/6th center.
Principal Jared McReynolds ended the ceremony by thanking Trooper Priddy for his time dedicated to the students and Edmonson County.
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