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Cumberland’s Village Gathers to Prepare for ‘The Great Comeback’

Nearly 180 community members, parents, educators and staff joined forces this morning to discuss how ‘the Cumberland County Schools (CCS) village’ can work together to increase students’ success in the classroom and beyond.

Manny Scott, an original Freedom Writer whose story is told in part in the 2007 hit movie, “Freedom Writers,” headlined the event. While sharing his personal journey, he spoke about the importance of community partners supporting schools. By age 16, Scott’s story was almost over: his father was incarcerated, he dropped out of school, had lived in 26 places and his best friend had been brutally murdered. Finally, however, with the help of a committed community, he turned the page and began writing new, more fulfilling chapters in his life – chapters filled with healing, hope, perseverance and possibility.

After referencing the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” Scott shared some insight that he received from an individual some time ago, “But ... I learned that yes, you can if you use a salt lick...” Scott went on to share, “If things get salty, students will get thirsty, and leaders can give them ‘the water’ they will need to be successful.” He closed his presentation by urging everyone to “be salty” and to do their part to support students in Cumberland County. 

In alignment with priority four of the district’s strategic plan, which focuses on strengthening community, business, university, municipal and military partnerships, district leaders hosted this event to kick off the Committed Community Partnerships program for the 2021-2022 school year. During the event, participants learned about needs throughout the school system and how they could get involved in order to help build student success.

CCS Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., closed the meeting with a Call to Action: “Today, I am asking everyone to complete the ‘Committed Community Call to Action’ form. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown our way, our village has remained unwavering in supporting the needs of our students. We need your continued support in our schools to ensure that we ‘come back’ stronger than ever before. You are already working alongside us, and for that, I say ‘thank you.’ The work you are doing in our community, in our schools and for our students is appreciated and needed.”

Citizens who are interested in partnering with Cumberland County Schools for student success are invited to complete the “Committed Community Call to Action” form: District staff will work to match partners with schools in the district based on their needs. 

To learn more about partnership opportunities in CCS, visit, email or call 910-678-2443.