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CCS Honors Employees Who Continue to 'Heed the Call' to Serve

November 10, 2022  

About 115 Cumberland County Schools employees, who have served in the United States Armed Forces and veterans who may still be serving, were honored during the district's Fourth Annual Veterans Day Program this evening at the Educational Resource Center.

Retired Sergeant Major (SGM) Ruby Murray, currently a JROTC instructor at South View High School, and her committee of JROTC instructors organized the event to pay tribute to her fellow service members and place their service to the country and in the classroom in the spotlight. This year's theme was "Excellence: Combat to Education."

"We came out of combat boots and into the civilian workforce --- a big transition," said SGM Murray. "The field of education is not just getting teachers, it's getting leaders who are strategic planners, coaches and mentors with 20+ years of experience. We want everyone to know that we are not 'retired or expired.' We have just continued to pay it forward for future generations so that they can have a successful life."

The program's keynote speaker, Retired Chief Warrant Officer Ariel Aponte, who currently works as the associate vice chancellor for Elizabeth City State University Military, State, and Federal Relations, agrees.

"If you did it [served the country] once, while in uniform, you can do it again out of the uniform," said Aponte. "Your current service is bigger than you and I. Your calling after the military is worthy to be acknowledged. So never water down the appreciation or admiration of others for your service ... Understand and accept that you are not alone in dealing with invisible wounds or survivor's guilt. You are stronger today than you were yesterday and your responsibilities in Cumberland County [schools] are as important as the one you had while in uniform."

Throughout the program, JROTC cadets, and several CCS students and staff members participated in and performed through song, dance and the spoken word. Various speakers, including CCS Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., paid tribute to the veterans who served honorably in the U.S. military during times of war and peace.

"Many of you in this room faithfully served our country in the military for many years, and then made the choice to serve our nation's children -- right here in Cumberland County," said Dr. Connelly, who dedicated nine years of service in the U.S. Army. "While the assignment has changed, your commitment to excellence has not."

Click here to access photos from tonight's program.

Westover High School JROTC cadets present the colors at tonight’s Veterans Day Program at CCS’ Educational Resource CenterThis evening’s Veterans Day Program opening remarks were made by CCS Superintendent, Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr.Guest speaker, Retired Chief Warrant Officer Ariel Aponte