08 N2108P21008HEducation is a powerful investment and the key to future success. Every morning during the announcements at my school, I talk to my elementary babies and my staff members about the importance of obtaining a quality education, becoming lifelong learners and to not live from hand to mouth which is better known as living from paycheck to paycheck.

As of May 21, there are 286 students who withdrew or dropped out of a Cumberland County Comprehensive High School and that is why Cumberland County Schools is hosting their annual “Get Back-To-School Launch Party” for high school dropouts July 15 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

“The purpose of the virtual event is exposure and we want to connect with students and families that withdrew from school, dropped out of school or in some way disengaged from school,” said Sheral Raines, dropout prevention supervisor of Cumberland County Schools.

“We want to make certain that those students and their families know all of the resources that are available to them to complete their high school diploma requirements and to advance into the next stage of their life.”

Raines added the next stage of life includes going directly into the workforce, pursuing military engagement or some type of postsecondary training or college preparation.

“A lot of times we find that students and their families don’t know that there are other options than just the traditional high school track,” said Raines. “We also want to make certain that they understand there are nontraditional high school tracks, one of which is Alger B. Wilkins High School, and we also have connections with Fayetteville Technical Community College that provides high school diploma programs and adult General Educational Development programs.”

“We also have connections with Miller-Motte Technical College and Penn Foster College who can help these students obtain their high school diploma at no additional cost,” said Raines. “There are several options that we want to make certain that students and their families are able to benefit from all of the resources that Cumberland County Schools directly provides.”

The National Dropout Prevention Center cites some of the reasons why students drop out of high school that include missing too many days, lack of childcare, became a caregiver, boredom, failing too many classes, obtained a job, did not like school, become pregnant and more.

“It is not just that we reach current dropouts but we are also casting our net for any dropouts even if they disenrolled in previous years,” said Raines. “Community advocacy is key and we want to be able to help all of the students that we can under the
age of 21.”

The link for the virtual event can be found on Cumberland County Schools’ website at www.ccs.k12.nc.us and their social media platforms. Families who want to receive personalized attention can call the hotline at 910-475-1145. The hotline will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. through July 24.

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