At left, Rumford Police Chief Tony Milligan and Town Manager Stacy Carter assist as 5th graders receive certificates for completing D.A.R.E. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — The 37th year and 36th culmination of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) took place Wednesday in the Muskie Auditorium at Mountain Valley High School.

The speaker was Rumford Police Patrolman/RSU 10 School Resource Officer Doug Maifield, who has been instructing the D.A.R.E. program that educates 5th grade students of the dangers of drugs, violence, bullying and social media over the past for 31 years.
Maifeld said DARE is more than saying ‘no to drugs.’

“DARE is about life skills,” he told students and parents in attendance. Most of 101 students completing the program attended, wearing their black DARE shirts with the message “Resist Drugs.”

This included instruction about being responsible, assessing choices, evaluating, risks and consequences, their choice and their choice only, facing peer pressure, self-esteem, how to communicate, how to listen, dealing with bullying, and handling social media.
Maifeld said a major change this year was that there were no D.A.R.E. essays.

D.A.R.E. Instructor Doug Maifeld reads Ariana Taylor’s (at right at the podium) puzzle piece message to the audience. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

“The fifth grade team requested this one-time experiment. The students are required to pick the most important topic they learned and describe it on a puzzle piece. The puzzle pieces will be put together and all displayed on the wall of the high school like I typically do with the license plates (which will still be displayed),” he said.

The winning entries were as follows:
* Graysin Marston-Chase — Power is something that you always have. You have the power to say no to drugs. You have the power to stand up to bullies. You have the power to make your own decisions.  Power. You always have it.
* Khloe Touchette — Be safe on social media. Do not do things that you feel unsafe doing or that could get you into trouble.
If you are being bullied online or in real-life, then tell someone.
Do not log in to someone else’s account with their permission. Don’t share your location with people that you don’t know.
Don’t meet up with people that you don’t know. If someone tells you to send then inappropriate things, do not do it.
Be safe and be careful using social media!
* Bentley Moore — In DARE, I learned that you should stay away from drugs, because they are bad for you.
If you do them, they can affect your mood, and you could become really mad and just yell at people.
Sometimes, if you do too many drugs, it could also cause you to have a heart attack, which could kill you.
From what I learned in DARE, I will stay away from drugs and be careful by making sure I look where I walk, so I don’t step on needles, and to say away from people who do drugs.
* Jax Therrien — Drugs like marijuana has 300 more known chemicals in them than cigarettes.
Drus like marijuana has neem reported to be more addictive than cigarettes.
Some drugs can be very deadly if abused.
Drugs can hurt your body. For example, it will stain your teeth yellow and harm your breathing.
* Ariana Taylor — The topic I chose to write about is drugs because I learned a lot about them and will not be doing drugs. I learned that marijuana is more harmful than cigarettes, drugs can make you brain go crazy and it can poison your brain and body.
Marijuana is a substance that can hurt you. The more you use it, the more you want to do it.
Drugs can affect your heart and lungs, and it can make you have hallucinations.
Drugs can poison your brain by thinking that it is good for your body. Drugs and any substance other than food affects the way your mind and body works.

Part of a puzzle piece display by 5th graders of D.A.R.E. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

Winners of the license plate slogans were Adrianne Skillin, Willow Meserve-Arsenault, Hailee Glover, Savannah Kumari and Alana Rodriguez.

After participating in the DARE curriculum, students will be able to:
* Exercise self-control, particularly when under stress and pressure. It will teach them to control their emotions, avoid impulsive behavior and think critically about their experiences in order to plan a drug-free life.
* Identify the risk and consequences of their choices. The curriculum prepares them for the rapid changes and challenges they are about to face, including the increasing presence of drugs in their lives, by teaching them to evaluate the risks and consequences of their choices.
* Make safe and responsible decisions. The DARE Decision Making Model continues to be central because youths need to understand how to think clearly and critically about the choices they face and, perhaps more importantly, plan for the ones they are about to face.
* Communicate more confidently and effectively, his developing strong relationships with peers, family and authority figures.
* Become safe and responsible citizens by learning how to help others and know how to get help. Youths of their age cannot do everything alone, so the new curriculum stresses safe and responsible ways to give and get help.

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