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CHAMPS honored
Champs pic3
Teacher Jonathan Tinsley talks to Black's Mill students. Tinsley was guest speaker for all three graduation events last week. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Fifth graders in Dawson County were applauded by teachers, officials and parents last week, who celebrated the students’ graduation from a safety promotion program at school.


Students from Robinson, Black’s Mill and Kilough elementary schools went through a 12-week curriculum called CHAMPS — Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety.


Lois Zangara, principal of Kilough Elementary School, said the graduation ceremony is “a day we look forward to every year. It signifies that [students] have been through a program that has taught them to be responsible and safe.”


CHAMPS instructor at Black’s Mill Elementary, Cpl. Steven Swofford, said students learn about “different situations” in the course.


“We don’t just focus on drugs,” Swofford said. “We do cover drugs, but we also cover different things.”


Swofford said a major lesson for kids to remember from the course is “there are so many different things out there that are good. You don’t have to get in trouble.”


Robinson Elementary CHAMPS instructor Deputy Stan Harrison urged students to “find what’s important, whether it’s sports, drama club, reading or working on cars. Find what’s important for you ... because the more involved you are with something that is positive, the more likely you are to stay out of trouble.”


Essay winners were recognized from each school during ceremonies.


Students were asked to pen a paper on what they’d learned by taking the class.

Robinson Elementary essay winners were: Brice Henson, Brianna Burt, Hallie Crumley, Steven Goble, Hunter Burt, Hayleigh Lawrence, Emma Porter and Isabella Parks.


Winners from Kilough included Sam Murphy, Josh Long, Matthew Powell, Hannah Kellar and Sidney Davis.


Black’s Mill winners were Tyler Lawson, Raquel Gonzalez, Halle Henry and Casey Passmore.


Superintendent Keith Porter said the CHAMPS program is important for students.


“It provides instruction that deals with life altering decisions students must make as they transition into adulthood,” Porter said.