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E.E. Smith High School Shines as Governor Cooper Spotlights Excellence in Public Education

February 27, 2024

Governor Roy Cooper's "The Year of Public Schools" Education Tour made a significant stop today at E.E. Smith High School (EESHS) in Cumberland County Schools (CCS). The visit aimed to showcase the remarkable work happening in North Carolina's public school system, highlighting the innovative programs and dedicated educators shaping the future of education.

During the visit, Governor Cooper toured classrooms, witnessing firsthand the innovative teaching methods and engaged students at E.E. Smith High School. He visited a Spanish II class taught by Gina Saavedra, an Air Force JROTC class taught by Lt. Col. Craig Robinson, and a Drones II class taught by Probe Thompson, where students were actively learning and applying their skills to real-world scenarios.

“From core academics, to military initiatives, to career and technical education, Cumberland County and E.E. Smith High School are preparing the future of our state,” said Governor Cooper. “We need to fully fund our public schools so all students have the chance to succeed.”

The tour concluded with special remarks in the school's Media Center, where Governor Cooper, Superintendent Connelly, Principal Parker, and parent Monique McLeod highlighted the remarkable achievements of E.E. Smith High School and the broader public education landscape in North Carolina.

Principal Larry Parker welcomed Governor Cooper and special guests to E.E. Smith High School, expressing gratitude for the recognition of public schools' importance in shaping future generations. “As a graduate of E. E. Smith High School and a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Liberty, I am proud of the work that we are doing to evolve instruction to prepare our students for an ever-evolving world,” said Parker. “Through our new STEAM Academy, Fire Science Academy, CTE Programs, Avionics, and AI labs, students receive cutting-edge instruction to become problem solvers in college, the armed forces, or our workforce.”

E.E. Smith parent and employee, Monique McLeod, shared her personal experience with the school, praising its rigorous academic offerings, including Honors and AP courses, and the nurturing environment provided by dedicated teachers and staff. McLeod highlighted the school's Cultural Arts Department, which helped foster her children's talents in singing and performance, alongside their academic growth.

Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., CCS superintendent, commended E.E. Smith High School for its dedication to student success, acknowledging the vibrant learning environment created by Principal Parker and his team. Dr. Connelly underscored the importance of fully funding public education and providing equitable access to opportunities for all students.  “Today, I stand before you not just as a superintendent, but as a passionate advocate for public education,” said Dr. Connelly. “What I love about public schools is our unwavering commitment to accept all students, regardless of their backgrounds, and to work tirelessly alongside them and their families to ensure their success.”

E.E. Smith High School offers a diverse array of advanced courses and specialized programs such as the FIRE and S.T.E.A.M. Academies. These offerings, including Honors & AP Courses, rigorous College Preparatory Classes, and unique partnerships, provide students with cutting-edge instruction and opportunities to excel in various fields. Additionally, the school's achievements, including the recognition as a Nationally Certified STEM Campus, underscore its commitment to academic excellence and innovation.

CCS continues to lead in preparing students for the workforce through its Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. In the Class of 2023, 47 students earned associate degrees through Fayetteville Technical Community College, while 225 students completed a college certificate at the same institution. The 2022-2023 CTE Credential Attainment Report highlights CCS as the second-highest earner of credentials in the state, totaling 16,012. These credentials validate students' mastery of practical skills, enhancing their appeal to employers and colleges alike.

“Our comprehensive approach allows us to provide a wide range of programs and opportunities, ensuring that every student has access to pathways that align with their individual goals and aspirations,” said Dr. Connelly. 

E.E. Smith High School Cadets welcoming Governor Cooper onto the campusGovernor Cooper greeting members of the Cumberland County Board of Education, Dr. Connelly and other guestsGovernor Cooper engaging with an E.E. Smith student in Spanish classGovernor Cooper visiting the ROTC class at E.E. Smith






About Cumberland County Schools:
Cumberland County Schools is the fifth-largest school system in North Carolina, committed to providing a comprehensive education that meets the diverse needs of each student. With a focus on personalized learning and student support services, CCS aims to empower every student to reach their maximum potential. Serving over 50,000 students across 86 schools, CCS reflects a rich blend of diversity with representation from 76 countries and 70 languages, including over 14,700 students from military or federally connected families. Aligned with "The Cumberland Commitment: Strategic Plan 2026," CCS invests in cutting-edge curriculum resources and professional development opportunities to ensure every student's success. Explore CCS Choice Programs, offering diverse educational pathways tailored to ignite passions and unlock potential.

About E.E. Smith High School:
E.E. Smith High School, Home of the Golden Bulls, is a nationally STEM-certified campus known for its innovative programs, including the STEAM Academy, Fire Science Academy, and Avionics and AI labs. With a strong emphasis on academic excellence and nurturing the talents of its students, E.E. Smith High School prepares graduates to succeed in a rapidly evolving world.