Cumberland Academy of Georgia Honors WWII Veteran Ashley Bryan

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Cumberland high school students receive a virtual visit from renowned artist and literary scholar, Ashley Bryan on Veterans Day.

Cumberland Academy of Georgia honors WWII Veteran Ashley Bryan in remembrance of Veterans Day
“Art speaks to the senses and my hope is for students to be able to connect to the material organically and learn the importance of inclusion and uplifting humanity as a whole,” said Fineman.

On Veterans Day, students at Cumberland Academy of Georgia, an Atlanta-based special needs school, received a virtual visit from renowned artist and WWII veteran, Ashley Bryan. Lori Fineman, lead teacher at Cumberland, connected with Mr. Bryan back in August and told him her intent to teach her students through the arts and humanities. Mr. Bryan immediately sent a signed collection of his books to Mrs. Fineman and her students.

Instead of picking up a traditional text book while studying the events of WWII and the Holocaust, students read Bryan’s book “Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World WarII.” The book allows students to experience events through Bryan’s eyes as he chronicles his journey and the atrocities of war through artwork, handwritten letters and diary entries. Students also created art after reading “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan.” Each student chose one of the slaves depicted and created a docket that reflected the slave’s age, monetary value, etc. “Art speaks to the senses and my hope is for students to be able to connect to the material organically and learn the importance of inclusion and uplifting humanity as a whole,” said Fineman. Students developed a picture of history through Mr. Bryan's description of his vast life experiences. "What an amazing gift to our students," said Lori Fineman, "Mr. Bryan was so engaging and gave the students the ability to connect what they learn in history and connect to Mr. Bryan's art. It was a fabulous experience."    

During the virtual visit, Bryan urged students to “hold something creative and positive each day and be kind to one another.” In December, the Alliance Theater will visit Cumberland’s Career Prep students to discuss the production aspects of “The Dancing Granny.”

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 Jane Paoletta, Director of Admissions, at 404-835-9000, or email admissions@cumberlandacademy.org.

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Johanna Wilkes
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