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Croton's Pierre Van Cortlandt Students Graduate From D.A.R.E. Program

Sixth-grade students at Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School in Croton-Harmon received certificates for completing the D.A.R.E. program – a collaboration between the school, Croton-on-Hudson Police Department and Croton Community Coalition. Photo Credit: Contributed
Croton Community Coalition Chairwoman Laurie Dean spoke with parents about maintaining a drug-free community at the Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School sixth-grade D.A.R.E. graduation. Photo Credit: Contributed
Croton-on-Hudson retired Detective Cliff Gabrielsen reviewed the D.A.R.E. program with Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School sixth-graders and their parents. Photo Credit: Contributed

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School sixth-graders celebrated their completion of the 10-week Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, or D.A.R.E., with a graduation on Friday, Dec. 5.

“D.A.R.E. allows us to introduce police officers to the school, as well as teach kids about three gateway drugs – tobacco, marijuana and alcohol,” said retired Croton-on-Hudson Police Detective Cliff Gabrielsen.

Student Olivia said she is glad she learned about these three commonly used substances.

“It’s important to know about them because you need to learn which drugs not to do,” she explained.

Andrew added there are many reasons not to use drugs, especially at a young age.

“If you have too much alcohol, it can affect your growing,” he said.

The D.A.R.E. program has been a longtime collaboration between the school district and village Police Department, as well as the Croton Community Coalition, whose Chairwoman, Laurie Dean, spoke after the ceremony to parents in attendance.

“D.A.R.E. shows good decision-making is so important,” said Barbara Ulm, PVC’s principal. “Gabrielsen has made such an amazing difference here.”

Each student was given a certificate, bag and hacky sack as a reward for completing the program, and all walked away with intangible knowledge that will help inform good decisions as they continue to grow.

Student Jessica was quick to recite the five types of peer pressure she learned about in the program – friendly, tempting, positive, teasing and bullying.

“It’s important to know how to deal with peer pressure and how to say 'no,'” she said.

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