Middle school students who participated in a Drug Abuse Resistance and Education (DARE) program conducted by the Texas A&M International University Police Department were recently honored during a "DARE Culmination" ceremony held in the University's Great Room.
Honored were over 50 6th grade students from Blessed Sacrament School, Laredo Christian Academy, St. Peter's Memorial School, and United Day School.
Special guests for the ceremony included Dr. Charles Jennet, A&M International President; State Representative Henry Cuellar; Ricardo Frayde, Crime Prevention Officer, Nuevo Laredo Police; Jose Luis Gutierrez, Executive Director of Communities in Schools of Laredo; and Victor Woods, Director, Drug-Free Schools.
Interns and pre-service teachers from the University's College of Education also participated.
Each DARE program participant was recognized during the Culmination, and three students from each of the participating schools read personal commitment statements which affirmed their anti-drug stance.
The students vowed to stay drug-free after participating in the semester-long anti-drug program led by A&M International Police Officers Tonie Gamboa, Sylvia Steele, and Albert Vasquez.
Officer Steele explained the DARE program conducted by the University officers began in September and ended with the Culmination ceremony.
"We visited the students at their schools every week and spoke to them about the importance of leading a drug-free life. The response we got was tremendous. It was a positive experience for both the officers and students," said Steele.
Because the program received such positive response from participants, the A&M International Police Department will offer the DARE program at other schools.
"The University is committed to providing community service programs like DARE to help young people reach their potential," she added.
A&M International's Police Department provides a wide range of police services beyond traditional law enforcement activities. In additional to sponsoring the DARE program at local schools, the University Police Department sponsors an Explorer Post, an organization designed to provide positive interaction with police officers and youth interested in law enforcement careers.
For more information on A&M International Police Department's community service programs, please contact University Police Chief Harry Stege at 326-2100. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.