Under the glow of black lights, bowling balls created thunderous echoes across a room filled with more than 230 fifth-grade girls on a cold winter night earlier this month.

It’s an annual event that involves bowling and lots of food, games and prizes, and one a similar-sized group of boys participated in a week later.

The purpose is to allow fifth-graders from schools to celebrate the completion of the Seymour Police Department’s annual Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

Besides serving as a reward, the two D.A.R.E. lock-ins also give the students a chance to see police officers in a different light, D.A.R.E. Officer Gilbert Carpenter said.

Story continues below gallery

“We want them to see us as people who can have fun and they can talk to, and then if they have a problem, they can come to us,” Carpenter said.

Another aspect of the D.A.R.E. program is teaching students about staying positive and working on positive thinking.

Corey Combs, a senior at Seymour High School, said he remembers attending the lock-in as a fifth-grader and was excited about the chance to be a D.A.R.E. Role Model for the younger students.

Earlier this school year, high school students applied to be a D.A.R.E. Role Model, and officers made the final selections. The role models helped out at both lock-ins.

“Back then, I was just a face in the crowd. Now, I’m a role model,” Combs said. “It makes me feel like a true leader.”

Author photo
Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at apiper@tribtown.com or 812-523-7057.