OTTUMWA — Several Ottumwa students will share their winning essays during the fifth-grade D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) graduation at 7 p.m. today in the Ottumwa High School auditorium. Participating schools include: Eisenhower, Horace Mann, James and Wilson.
Essay winners are: Donavan Newland and Dawson Brown, Eisenhower; Ava Green and Emma Weilbrenner, Horace Mann; Marbella Perez-Guzman and Malachi Benedict, James; and Celia Jimenez and Ashley DePaz, Wilson.
D.A.R.E. is a comprehensive 17-week prevention program that teaches various skills for resisting illegal drug use to students. Students learn how to avoid violence, resist peer pressure, to say no, to make choices and accept consequences and to find alternatives to drugs. Brandon Gravett, an Ottumwa police officer, teaches D.A.R.E with assistance from the elementary counseling staff.
Students must meet several requirements to attend graduation, including completing the 17-week program and all workbook assignments, writing an essay and attending the graduation ceremony.