305223531 564016072182600 6471802778705629094 nLexi Solomon's article in CityView Today last week was very well written. However, the content was extremely disturbing and very disappointing, and a near-perfect example of why our community has difficulty moving forward into the 21st century with unity.

Solomon's article revealed how emotionally driven some members of our community are when their conversations falter because of a lack of logic and facts, failing to produce a cohesive and compelling argument. That is the case with the displeasure voiced over the pending consideration to relocate the 70-year-old outdated E.E. Smith High School to 90 acres of land provided free of charge, and conveniently located on the fringe of Ft. Liberty.

Solomon's article reported on a recent meeting held by E.E. Smith alums and the National Association of E.E. Smith Alumni and Friends to voice their displeasure with this consideration, and to show support for the historically Black high school located at 1800 Seabrook Road off Murchison Road. Meetings of this nature can be very valuable and productive.

However, it does our community a grave injustice to utilize a gathering of this nature to make accusatory remarks and conspiracy theories concerning the need to uproot the school in favor of a new high-tech facility. It's disingenuous to hear a NAEESAF board member, Sharon McDonald Evans, accuse local leadership of purposely allowing the school to deteriorate because they resent E.E. Smith being an historically Black high school. What about the thirty percent of non-Black students who have graduated from E.E. Smith High School who have also become successful, noteworthy community leaders, business executives, educators, public servants, and civic leaders on local, state and national levels?

In the next few weeks, Cumberland County Commissioners will be facing off with disgruntled alums and Cumberland County School board officials over the pros and cons of relocating and upgrading the much-needed educational facility to the more accommodating location.

Without a doubt, the sentimentality for E.E. Smith High School is warranted; however, the groups’ assertion that it is the heart of the Murchison Road community is false and misleading as are many of the concerns raised by those opposing the move.

What I found most interesting about Solomon's article and reporting on that meeting is what was NOT mentioned in it. First and foremost, there was no mention of the late Dr. E.E. Smith, the Black educational icon who founded the school in 1927.

He is the real story behind the E. E. Smith legacy. It is his legacy that should be honored and preserved. Another glaring void in the ongoing conversations is the lack of consideration and concern for the quality of students’ educations and the preservation and assurance for future generations.

The quality of education should be the NAEESAF organization’s highest priority especially when E.E. Smith HS math and reading scores are a dismal forty percent. A new technologically advanced high school could achieve improvement in those testing goals by assisting teachers in the classroom.

LaVar Wright is passionate about his alma mater. "The school itself is the heartbeat, the pulse,” Wright said, referring to the Murchison Road community.

No, it is not!

He continues, “This community has been thriving."

No it has not!

"It has been mistreated for longer than all of us have been alive. And this is just another way to step on our necks,” he said. “It’s exactly why this area has been so successful for so long."

No, that community is not successful and continues to struggle with high crime and diminishing businesses.

"You pull that school out of that neighborhood, it’s already suffering, underwater," Wright said.

These statements reflect that even Wright’s passion and enthusiasm cannot withstand the truth and reality of the situation.

It is my hope that he urges the NAEESAF to rally around and support the quality education of future generations of E.E. Smith students. Wright is in a position to encourage alumni, faculty and concerned members of the community to endorse the new high school and its location.

This issue is all about enriching the growth academically and historically of the youngsters living in this town. What pride they will have in becoming the first graduates of this state-of-the-art high school whose namesake made such an impact in North Carolina. Dr. E.E. Smith himself would be proud.

This issue should be interpreted as everything to do with the quality of life, education and futures of generations upon generations to come, always keeping the legacy of Dr. E.E. Smith and the history of E.E. Smith High School alive in the Fayetteville community.

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