Students become teachers of substance-free message

<font size="2">Voices in the stands rung from kids and adults alike, promising to stay substance-free.</font>

Washington Local Schools' community packed Whitmer's stadium Monday night - celebrating its 24th annual Candlelight Walk to promote drug and alcohol-free lives.

"It's just one of those messages we want to make sure is heard loud and clear," said a school social worker Becky Swisher.

Voices in the stands rung from kids and adults alike, promising to stay substance-free and stay true to core values. Many of those vows were a repeat from years before.

"The seniors that you see here forming the tunnel were the kindergarteners just 13 short years ago. This has been going on for 24 years," said Superintendent Patrick Hickey. "It just lives and breathes on itself and goes from generation to generation. This community supports itself and supports the schools."

The subject hits home for the superintendent, who lost his sister at a young age.

"I'm impacted myself," said Hickey. "My sister was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 16. So we walk our talk in this district to try to be role models and to show our kids that being drug and alcohol free is the only way to go, and to be less than that is to have someone steal that from you."