Buchanan fifth graders graduate from drug resistance program

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Buchanan Middle School gym was packed Wednesday with students, teachers and parents ready for D.A.R.E. graduation.

This year, one half-dozen students took ownership and led the program for the evening. Officer Harvey Burnett, the D.A.R.E. officer and mentor to the children, stepped in long enough to present awards.

“I think it went outstanding!” Burnett said. “I’d love to see them do it every year. They got up there and just did their thing.”

Burnett has been a part of the program in Buchanan for 18 years, and this is the first time the organization has had the children run the graduation program.

“We try to build a good relationship with the kids, so we try to come in as a role model and not so much as an officer,” Burnett said. “We connect and we try to get personal; we try to be there for them. We try to be available for them if they need things or if they want to talk about personal things.”

By the amount of jokes, laughs, hugs and handshakes Burnett shared with the young graduates, it was clear the personal connection has been made.

Buchanan Community Schools currently have the only D.A.R.E. program in Berrien County.