East Bridgewater-Today, the East Bridgewater Gordon W. Mitchell Middle School 6th grade students celebrated in the annual DARE graduation. The annual 6th grade graduation event brings to completion, the 6th graders participation in the Middle School’s 6th grade DARE program that takes place over the course of the school year.
The traditional DARE program has evolved over the years, which now includes curriculum geared toward present-day basic life skills development and decision-making lessons which helps prepare today’s teenagers for society’s challenges. DARE first started with an East Bridgewater Police officer assigned to the School District in 1989 and even through difficult budget periods, the police department has remained committed to assigning a full time officer to the school system.
The Police Department’s new School Resource Officer, Tallitha Connor, was the Master of Ceremonies, which kicked off at 9 am with 6th grade parents in attendance alongside their children in the Middle School auditorium. The DARE program has received great support over the years from District Attorney Timothy Cruz, who led off the itinerary of invited guest speakers, followed by Police Chief Scott Allen, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gina Williams, and Selectman William Dowling, with closing comments from Principle Andrew Gentile.
Superintendent Liz Legault has been a great supporter and leader in collaborating with the Police Department on critically important youth education, prevention events and programs.
A special award was presented by Chief Allen to Patrol Officer Mark Harvey, who this year transitioned back to the Patrol Division after 8-plus years of service as the School Resource & DARE Officer. Officer Harvey has been instrumental in the evolution and development of drug and alcohol awareness programs, school security and safety, student police academies, bus safety and many other initiatives to protect and help students. Officer Harvey received a standing ovation upon being presented with his award.
A second, part-time school resource officer, Cecelia Cacciatore, was introduced to the schools and students this past spring and will have larger presence alongside Officer Connor at the schools in the fall.
The East Bridgewater Police Department remains committed to partnering and collaborating with Superintendent Legault and the School District, assisting in the development of the district’s 2,300 students and ensuring the safety and security of all students and staff.