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October 24-- Wednesday morning Sally D. Meadows Elementary School held their DARE Parade in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week to bring about awareness to drug abuse and how to teach children about making good decisions.

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Sally D. Meadows Principal Scott Stephens talked about the importance of the parade and what it means. “This is very important, not only for the children but for the community. I’ve gotten the pleasure to see these children grow up from kindergarten to fourth and fifth graders. We need to send a message not only to our children but our community that we don’t want to do drugs. We want to make these children independent successful adults,” said Stephens.

Stephens added, “We have kids now that are exposed to social media like no generation before them. The most important thing we can do is develop relationships with these children. Social media is going to have an influence, good, bad, or indifferent, but if they have positive relationships with adults, that’s the best insurance we have in making them successful adults.”

joyFifth grade teacher Joy Sharpton has been teaching for 15 years and says she sees the positive results and how important the role models are to making the program successful. “It is just amazing to see some of the students that we had in fifth grade that come back as DARE role models. They come back and they support our students and they help them. A high school senior is a really big deal. They really look up to them, especially when our athletes come back. It’s that positive figure in their life that they see out in their community. They know that they’ve faced some of those things and it makes a huge difference,” said Sharpton.

DARE role model Felicity Day, a senior at Vidalia High School, wants to become a teacher and talked about why she chose to be a DARE role model. “I wanted to be a good representation of my school. Younger kids tend to look up to high schoolers because that’s what they want to be when they grow up. They look at us as the cooler kids, that’s at least how I saw it,” said Day.