Local News

'I want to get my diploma': Dropouts get second chance in Cumberland County

Posted July 20

— Hundreds of students dropped out of Cumberland County Schools last year for a variety of reasons.

Dozens of former students lined up outside of Alger B. Wilkins High School on Thursday for a "Get Back in School Party" to get a second chance to earn their diploma.

"I want to walk across the stage," said Samya Barnes. "I want to get my diploma."

Barnes dropped out of high school last year. She was in the 11th grade.

"I got a call from the school every day," said Rita Blue, Barnes' grandmother. "Samya missed such and such a class, or Samya was absent today, and I'm done. She's got to get back in here and do something."

This summer, Barnes is singing a different tune.

"I'm going to be a nurse and they are going to put me in there while I can go here and do that. So, like when I'm done here, I can go there for two years and then go to a four-year college," Barnes said.

Recent dropouts and their guardians were invited to meet with counselors who provided information to help get the students back in school.

Ariel Quick and her brother dropped out last year. Both said they now want to change that.

"To show my mom I got to make it out. I got to make her proud. Gotta get back in school," Quick said.

More than 400 students dropped out of Cumberland County Schools last year, but those reasons don't have mean the end of academic careers.

"Teen pregnancy, missing too many days of school, sometimes they have to work. There are a lot of reasons. But, if you left school, we welcome you to come back," said Natasha Scott, the student service executive director. "If you are under the age of 21, we welcome you to come back."

About 50 students started the process on Thursday.

Anyone looking to go back to school is asked to contact their guidance counselor.

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