WILMINGTON, N.C. – UNC Wilmington women’s basketball coach Ann Hancock recently served as the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony of Bladenboro Middle School’s fifth-grade class from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.).program.

Hancock spoke to the group of more than 100 students about the importance of hard work, dedication and determination in the pursuit of one’s goals. She also discussed the necessity of staying true to one’s self and the value of good choices and decisions.

“I was honored to be the keynote speaker of the D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony at Bladenboro Middle School,” Hancock said. “It’s important to me, as well as the entire UNCW women’s basketball program, that we give back to the community. This opportunity was an experience that I truly cherished since it allowed me to speak to students from my home community.”

Founded in 1983 in Los Angeles, D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives. The program is part of the curriculum in 75 percent of school districts in the United States and is taught in more than 43 countries around the world.