D.A.R.E. graduates celebrate at fairgrounds

Students and adults alike enjoyed a perfect spring afternoon Wednesday at the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds for the 20th annual D.A.R.E. Activities Day. The event was in celebration of the D.A.R.E. graduations of about 900 fifth graders from throughout the county.
The Bingham County D.A.R.E program started with a grant in 1990 and was spearheaded by two sheriff's deputies who started teaching the program in the schools in an effort to steer kids away from violence, drugs and alcohol.
In 1993, the deputies decided to incorporate an end of the year activities party where all of the D.A.R.E. graduates could meet and celebrate their commitment to stay drug free.
The day's events started with a group photo of all of the D.A.R.E graduates. From there the students participated in various games and activities and a picnic lunch provided by local law enforcement agencies, teachers and high school volunteers who served as student role models throughout the school year.
Stoddard Elementary students Austin Meng and Ricardo Coronado couldn't wipe the smiles off their faces as they played in the spray of water shooting down from a fire truck, courtesy of the Blackfoot Fire Department.
"We are having so much fun," Meng exclaimed. "This is way cool."
Fort Hall Elementary student Jesus Apodaca agreed, saying that "he plans to stay drug and alcohol free because of what he learned in D.A.R.E."
Sgt. Craig Luker of the Bingham County Sheriff's Department, who coordinated the event, thanked the teachers, principals, student role models and parents within the school districts for supporting the D.A.R.E program and the deputies who took the time to go into the schools and teach the program.
Luker also praised local businesses McDonalds, Bingham County Implement, Lee's Service, Riverside Boot and Saddle, C-A-L Ranch Stores, Rupe's Burgers and the county's law enforcement agencies and fire departments for their support of D.A.R.E.
"It would not be possible without the sustained funding and equipment usage this program receives from our great businesses and individuals," Luker said.
For more information about D.A.R.E, call Luker at 208-782-3040.