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April 3--  Fifth graders at Sally Meadows Elementary School have graduated from this school term's Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) course.

At Friday's graduation ceremony, Vidalia City Manager Nick Overstreet urged them to resist peer pressure when they know something is wrong,

"It doesn't matter if you're ten, eleven, twelve or early thirties, whatever age you are in life, peer pressure is always going to be there and it's up to you to make the right decision.  It's up to you to make your life successful, because it's always going to be there.  Just always make the right decision and say no to drugs and alcohol and other things which may come your way throughout your life," he said.

High school students from Vidalia High School serve as role models for the fifth graders.  One of this year's role models is Nate McBride who is on his way to a football scholarship at the University of Georgia.

"It's definitely a blessing.  I love sharing time with the kids. Watching them grow is definitely a blessing and I love to be part of it," he said.

Overstreet advised the young students not to be afraid to ask for help, "If you ever do not feel comfortable about something you are experiencing, talk to someone. Tell them about it and I'm sure they will be willing to help you.  Don't try to deal with a situation on your own, there's always help."

And Nate McBride echoes the city manager's advice, "Always have that one friend you can talk to or that one grownup you can talk to.  It doesn't matter if it's your coach, your teacher, your pastor, your parents, your grandparents, it doesn't matter.  As long as you have someone you can talk to and get it off your chest, it doesn't matter, communication is the key."

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Students in each of the nine classes wrote DARE essays to wrap up the ten weeks of instruction. 

The overall winner is Dottie McDaniel.  Winners in individual classes are Andrew Velazquez, Jasie Cleghorn, Damaya Phillips, Zoey Alvarez, Kynzyerria McGee, Leyton Dunford, Ava Anderson and Sergio Nahuaca