LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

A La Crosse student wrote one of the top DARE essays in Wisconsin.

Anika Nystrom, a 2014 DARE graduate from North Woods Elementary School in La Crosse, received her award from the Wisconsin DARE Officers Association on Tuesday.

“It's just like really overwhelming, and it means a lot to me because D.A.R.E class is really important. I felt like it is something that everyone needs to know about,” said Nystrom.

As part of graduation, all students are required to submit an essay detailing their experiences and what they’ve learned as a result of their DARE education.

La Crosse Police Department DARE Officer Kurt Weaver submitted Nystrom’s essay to the 2014 Wisconsin DARE Essay Contest. More than 70 entries were reviewed by the Board of Directors at the Wisconsin State DARE Conference.

“Well the biggest thing she talked about was how making wise choices shows respect for the people that you love and that really stood out to me because what a great way to show what you've learned and why it's good to make good choices, because it shows the people that you love that you care about them and that you'll do the right things,” said Weaver.

Here is her essay:

My DARE Report  by Anika Nystrom

Do you ever get annoyed by your parents always telling you to make the right choice? I know I sometimes do, but after taking DARE lessons, I know why. Making responsible choices shows respect and keeps people safe.

Often times when you make responsible choices, you show respect for yourself and for others. Sometimes, you even show that you love them. Every time you make a responsible decision, you show that you are more trustworthy. I know people like other people who are trustworthy because they feel comfortable telling them things that, maybe, they wouldn’t want to tell other people. I know that I, being an eleven year old girl, like trustworthy people because I feel like my secrets are safe with them and they won’t tell a soul.

Another great thing about making responsible decisions is that it can save your life. For instance, if a strange man asked you if you wanted to do drugs with him, the responsible thing would be to say “no” and walk away. But, if you said yes or gave in to peer pressure, you could get addicted, overdose, and die. This situation actually happens a lot. People think it’s going to be fun and sometimes it is for a while but then pretty soon they feel like they can’t live without it and want more and more and sometimes they have too much.

Recently, an actor named Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away from a drug overdose. Not only did he leave behind all of his fans, he also left behind his three young children and his partner. All of that was caused because he made a very bad choice. That is why making responsible choices is really important. Just think about someone you love dying because they made a bad decision. You would be heartbroken. Now, Imagine you were the one that died. Wouldn’t you feel terrible knowing that you made all these people feel that way?

Making responsible choices is a very important thing. Not only do you show respect and care but you can also save lives, maybe even your own life and isn’t that a great gift to give to yourself and the people you love?