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Cumberland County Schools Students Put on a Show — and Potentially Help to Save Lives

Last month, Theatre Arts students from Douglas Byrd High School (DBHS) and a Spanish-immersion student from Howard Hall Elementary School (HHES) participated in the Tri-annual Fayetteville Regional Airport Disaster Drill. In addition to airport personnel, the drill includes firefighters, law enforcement, Cape Fear Valley Hospital and FAST Transit.

Preparation for the drill requires a lot of work. Students who participated wore old clothing that was ripped, torn, burned and stained to look like they were injured. They appeared and acted like airline passengers that just crashed on the runway at the Fayetteville Airport.

The volunteerism of these hard working students makes a substantial difference in our community. From makeup to staging the drill on the actual runway, the hard work these students put into this exercise helps the first responders be better prepared for worst-case scenarios. 

DBHS Drama teacher Robert Baker said, “I’m very proud of these kids and consider myself fortunate to serve them for the past 20+ years. We simply have the very best young people the county has to offer here at Douglas Byrd High School.”

In addition to the regular crash victims, a fifth-grader from HHES, who has been in the school’s Spanish immersion program since kindergarten, responded to the firefighters only in Spanish. She was also much smaller than the DBHS students. As such, the firefighters had to make sure they used size-appropriate equipment to treat her injuries.

The HHES student worked with a spanish-speaking DBHS student to play a mother/daughter crash victim scenario. As the duo responded only in Spanish, the firefighters had to overcome a language barrier in the midst of the crises at hand. DBHS students have been training in acting and scene-writing throughout the pandemic. This was their first performance in public that was not limited to video. Students wrote scenarios and studied what happens to people who survive a major crash during their cross-curricular preparation.

Cumberland County Schools is grateful for the district’s committed community partners who help facilitate meaningful learning experiences like this event.

  • To view photos and video from the City of Fayetteville, click here.
  • To view a full album of high-resolution photos from the event, click here.