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Sullivan Village fifth graders complete GREAT program

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LAWTON, Okla._Fifth graders at Sullivan Village Elementary were honored Friday morning for their participation and completion of the "GREAT" program, Gang Resistance Education and Training.

The six week program is aimed at giving kids the tools they need to stay away from gangs, drugs and bullying. Fifth graders like Michael Williams love the GREAT program.

"You help people and make them feel good and when people help you, you feel good. So you treat people the way you want to be treated," said Williams.

They learn that simple concept through activities aimed at solving problems in our community.

"How not to be in a gang, and not being bullied and not being bystanders, and helping others," said Williams.

They work through a book, and act out skits to learn what they should and shouldn't do.

"It has us act like the characters and some of the characters do wrong things and some of the characters do right things so it makes it fun while teaching us not to do it," said fifth grader, Katie Smith.

Officer XL Mays, who teaches the fifth graders, believes it sets them up for success in their future.

"You know these kids, as I said; you have a captive audience and man it's a great time to plant those seeds to allow those kids to be successful," said Mays.

The learning doesn't stop in the fifth grade. Officer Mays explains they get more life tools in the seventh grade through the great program.

"I like to think of it as immunization. We give them that initial shot in the fifth grade and then we give them a booster shot in the seventh grade and it takes them on through the rest of their lives," said Mays.

It's the continuing education and interaction that Katie Smith is looking forward to.

"I think it will have some different things to it, to add on and it just increases our knowledge on how to stay out of all that stuff," said Smith.

Once they get into the seventh grade, they'll complete an additional 13 week course.

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