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Elementary school students recognized for DARE essays

At the May 23 O’Fallon City Council Meeting, council member Tom “Duke” Herweck recognized three fifth-grade elementary school students whose Drug Abuse Resistance Education [DARE] essays were judged as the best in the city.

Herweck introduced each student and asked them to read their essays to the council and all in attendance. Included were Ava Grossman from Assumption Elementary, Skylar Atienza from Progress South Elementary, and Hayden Smith from Forest Park Elementary. In their essays, all three thanked their O’Fallon DARE Police Officers Julie Long and Jill Bloomfield for teaching them important lessons and guidelines to help them now and well into the future.

Long briefly spoke about an amazing selfless act by Smith. Long said she donates her hair every other year to Wigs for Kids and noted that Smith had donated her own very long hair just the day before the council meeting. The act she said made Long very proud and humbled.

Wigs for Kids provides hair replacement systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to the children or families.

Herweck, somewhat choked up, praised Smith as an elementary school student leading by example and as an inspiration to everyone in the community.

Ava Grossman


Skylar Atienza


Hayden Smith

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