"Character is who you are when no one else is looking," Dan Meers told the Macon R-I fifth graders at the D.A.R.E. graduation on Wednesday afternoon in the middle school gym.
Meers is the Kansas City Chiefs' mascot K.C. Wolf. In his inspirational message to the students he urged them to make their character a priority. "Your reputation is precious, your character is priceless," said Meers.
D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. The 10-week program is presented annually to Macon fifth graders to help them make good decisions when faced with the challenges of saying no to drugs and bullying. The course is instructed by School Resource Officer Adam Dawdy.
Dawdy said that D.A.R.E. took a new spin this year with the slogan "Keeping it Real." The students learned through studying real life scenarios. "We talked about confidence in dealing with situations as they move up through the grades in school."
"You hear on the news about drugs and violence," said Dawdy. "These kids are how you fight the war on drugs and the war on violence."
Fifth grade teachers Megan Pollard, Shelly Spain, Lindsey Stadler and Shelly Schaefer assisted Dawdy to present each D.A.R.E. graduate with a certificate.
As a requirement to complete the program each student wrote an essay. The four winners, Joe Beale, Grace Cason, Madilyn Frasier and Cassie Fuemmeler read their essays in front of the assembly and were presented with a medal by Dawdy.
Officers from the Macon Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Department of Conservation and Macon County E-911 attended the graduation.