By Carol Vaughn — Fifth grade students from Accomack County Public Schools and Kiptopeke Elementary School in Northampton gathered on the grounds of Nandua High School Tuesday for the annual D.A.R.E. Day celebration.
D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is a program that teaches students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe, healthy lives. The program on the Eastern Shore is conducted by the sheriff’s offices of Accomack and Northampton counties.
Deputy Jason Campbell, of the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office, is D.A.R.E. coordinator for Accomack County schools.
Deputy Jennifer Scott, of the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, is D.A.R.E. coordinator for Northampton County schools.
The D.A.R.E. curriculum is taught in thousands of schools in the 50 states and in United States territories, as well as in more than 50 other countries, reaching more than 1.5 million students annually, according to dare.org
Campbell kicked off the celebration, followed by comments by Accomack County Sheriff Todd Wessells.
Wessells thanked Campbell and the public school district and its teachers for allowing the sheriff’s office to conduct the D.A.R.E. program.
“You are moving on to middle school,” Wessells said to the students, adding, “Think about life choices. The choices you make can affect you years down the road.”
Campbell and Wessells awarded the trophy for the winning D.A.R.E. essay to Brian Toussaint, a student at Metompkin Elementary School.
A food drive was conducted in connection with the D.A.R.E. program, with the food collected going to the Foodbank of the Eastern Shore.
Students collected a total of 2,129 pounds of food.
Leslie Parker, Foodbank Branch Coordinator, awarded trophies to the three schools that collected the most food for the drive.
Tangier Combined School was awarded the trophy for collecting the most food, 1,755 pounds, with Metompkin Elementary School taking second place and Pungoteague Elementary School coming in third.
The celebration included a K-9 dog demonstration, tours of a Virginia Marine Police boat, games including soccer and foursquare, inflatable slides and a bounce house, and food.
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The Eastern Shore Post is the only locally owned newspaper on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It is published each Friday and 12,000 copies are distributed free to readers at hundreds of locations from Pocomoke, Md., and Chincoteague, Va., to Cape Charles, Va. It is posted online Thursday evening, usually by 6:30 p.m. We are in the Four Corner Plaza at 25248 Lankford Highway, Onley. Mailing address is P.O. Box 517, Onley, VA 23418