High fives, new faces as Cumberland County school year begins

Posted August 27, 2018 5:28 p.m. EDT
Updated August 27, 2018 6:28 p.m. EDT

— The first day of the new school year was filled with a lot of enthusiasm in Cumberland County, from students to teachers and even the superintendent.

Students arriving at Lillian Black Elementary School in Spring Lake were greeted by teachers cheering. Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly, himself a newbie this school year, offered high fives as the children made their way back on campus at the school, which is at the doorstep to Fort Bragg.

"We have 13,000 military-connected students here out of our 51,000 students, and it's a great community," Connelly said. "It's a military town, but also Cumberland County is a great county, and we're just excited in Cumberland County."

Connelly is on a listening tour. He plans to visit 87 schools during his first 100 days on the job.
In addition to the high-fives, the new superintended dished out breakfast to students who shared the meal with local firefighters.

It was also the first day of school for teacher Odette Vanreil and her daughter, Zahria. They're from Jamaica, new residents of Cumberland County. Mom will teach first-graders at Lillian Black Elementary while her daughter begins fifth grade.

"It's been exciting," Vanreil said. "I'm anticipating the change. I'm anticipating the difference in culture because I believe in globalized education."

Zahria admitted to being a bit nervous. She said, "I think it's going to be a wonderful experience. I think it's going to be fun."