By D. Mark Mitchell

sports columnist

The first week of summer was quiet for most students. However, the OHS basketball team began their two weeks of workouts Monday. Coach John Wadsworth started workouts by taking several students to speak at the DARE summer camp for upcoming fifth graders. I attended the camp with the players and Wadsworth.
The DARE program is run by the Opelika Police Department in cooperation with the Opelika City Schools. The program is for fifth and seventh grade students. It teaches kids the skills they need to stay drug free and to resist violence. It teaches eight ways to say no to drugs as well as ways to discuss and solve problems before they escalate to violence.  This is a very satisfying program for all those who work with it.
DARE officers Fuller, Rickabaugh and Duncan work with all schools in the Opelika system, but are seen mostly at OHS.
The officers try to convey to students that police officers are good people that you should trust and respect. These three officers are a small part of a very successful department. Opelika is blessed to have a police chief and officers who want to work with the school system for the betterment of our children.
I was so proud to see many campers, members of OPD and LCSO deputies mixing with the kids. Most of the volunteers are students at OHS. I saw a variety of athletes, band members and other students among the volunteers.
Many local businesses volunteered money and items for DARE Camp. Coach Wadsworth and his players made a difference by taking time to eat lunch and speak with the young students. Trust me, it matters!
Good job, Officers Fuller, Rickabaugh and Duncan. All of you are professionals and obviously care about your jobs and your community.
Opelika High School is in the process of hiring a new baseball coach. Coach Rick Wade took over as Interim coach last July with the understanding that Opelika would hold an open job search at the end of the 2016 season.
The goal of the process will be the third head baseball coach for Opelika since Barry Hightower resigned in 2010. Scott Sullivan was head coach from 2010–12 and Billy Jones 2012-15. Coach Wade served as interim this past season.
OHS Principal Dr Farrell Seymore and AD Brian Blackmon are in the process of interviewing prospective candidates now. Look for the announcement in the coming days.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys state director and the vice president of the A-O Sports Council.