When Cumberland Academy of Georgia administrators discovered the catalytic converters had been stolen on two of their transport vans, Atlanta-based auto dealership Steve Rayman Chevrolet quickly stepped in and donated several thousand dollars worth of parts and labor to make the repairs. During the same 48-hour period, Cumberland welcomed in two new teachers, one counselor and 10 students who were suddenly without a school.

Cumberland Academy of Georgia Students April 2 started out as a typical day for Atlanta special-needs school, Cumberland Academy of Georgia. But shortly after the day started, events veered from the normal routine. Cumberland administrators learned that the Cloverleaf School, another school in the area serving students with learning challenges, had been forced to abruptly close due to financial problems. That left 10 of Cloverleaf’s students, two teachers and one counselor without a school. Without hesitation, Cumberland agreed to take them in.

 “It was a terrible situation for these parents. Having a special needs child and having their school close the doors 3/4 of the way through the school year is a very difficult position for the families. Our decision was an easy one. It was the right thing to do and the best solution to a really stressful situation for these students and their parents, “said Debbi Scarborough, Cumberland’s headmaster and founding director. “It meant making some adjustments, like turning our library into a classroom, but we would make it work.” Cumberland immediately hired Cloverleaf’s two teachers and counselor, and welcomed the additional students into their classes. They will be at Cumberland for the rest of the school year.

 But just as Cumberland decided to do the right thing and take in the new students, vandals did the wrong thing to them. One of Cumberland’s staff members went out to the parking area where the school buses were parked, only to discover that the catalytic converter had been stolen out of one of their transport vans. If that wasn’t bad enough, the next morning school administrators discovered the catalytic converter had also been taken from a second van.

 “This was really bad news for us, because as a nonprofit school, vandalism is especially taxing,” related Scarborough. “Yet the buses are essential to our operations, for everything from student transportation to educational field trips. It was especially bad timing, as this was the day our new students were starting school here.”

 Atlanta television station WSB-TV did a story about the theft, and Steve Rayman saw the news clip. Rayman is the owner of Steve Rayman Chevrolet, a large auto dealership in Atlanta. He called Scarborough and told her he would donate all of the parts and labor to make the repairs on the two vans. This would amount to several thousand dollars worth of parts and labor.

 “We are so thankful to everyone at Steve Rayman Chevrolet for their kindness and generosity, and also appreciate the support and help we got from WSB-TV for doing the news story,” Scarborough said. “These were certainly a very eventful couple of days for us, and it could have been a much more traumatic time than it was. But things have actually settled down to a normal routine rather quickly. The new students and faculty have blended in nicely, and our transport vans are once again functioning like they should. We’re all smiling around here—thanks to the support from our friends in the community.”

 About Cumberland Academy of Georgia: 
Cumberland Academy of Georgia specializes in the needs of students in grades 4 through 12 who have high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities. Cumberland was founded in 2007 by Debbi and Matthew Scarborough, and is a fully-accredited, independent, non-profit school that seeks to provide a safe and supportive academic atmosphere for its students. Cumberland accepts applications year-round. To schedule a family tour, please contact Terri Brooks, director of admissions, at 404-835-9000, or email admissions@cumberlandacademy.org.