Excitement and anticipation filled the air on May 2 at Atlanta special-needs school, Cumberland Academy of Georgia. Students lined up to fill school buses, clutching suitcases or backpacks with one hand, while they waved good-bye to their parents with the other hand. It was the day they were leaving on their school-sponsored overnight trips, and in many cases, the students had never been away from home before. These trips are both educational and incredibly important for the students.
“We have been going on these trips since our founding over 10 years ago. Some students are fearful as they have experienced the independence of an overnight trip away from home,” explained Debbi Scarborough, headmaster and founding director of Cumberland Academy of Georgia.”The independence learned on these trips is invaluable.”
The entire student body participated, with different grades traveling to different destinations. Each destination was within a 1 to 4 hour drive away from the school. Teachers and counselors traveled with their students on Cumberland’s buses, and returned back to school on May 5. The nights were spent at hotels, with 2 to 4 students staying in each room. With teacher and counselor chaperones, students learned to work together, hotel etiquette, travel flexibility and many other adult living skills while enjoying local sites and attractions.
Cumberland’s 4th and 5th graders traveled to a local camp in Covington, Georgia, where they had the opportunities to canoe, try archery, and slide their way down a long slip ‘n slide. The 6th, 7th and 8th graders went to Chattanooga to visit the famous Tennessee Aquarium, Ruby Falls and Rock City. The school’s 9th through 12thgraders visited Nashville where they toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Parthenon, and attended a special presentation by country music legends Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
“Going on the trips provided our students with important lessons like learning to be comfortable in new surroundings and trying out new experiences, and even seeing the enjoyment in travel, hopefully empowering them to do it again,” Scarborough said.
She admits there were a couple of tears from some of the kids as the buses were departing on May 2, especially when some of them realized that in all the excitement they forgot to say goodbye to their moms. Still, Scarborough said, “Overall there were no problems and the trip was a huge success. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves, and we all look forward to doing the same thing again next year.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.