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Cumming, Forsyth Celebrate Recognition as Best Community for Youth

Cumming and Forsyth County celebrates being recognized as "100 Best Communities for Young People."

Local leaders, school administrators and guests gathered at the Board of Education building Thursday to celebrate Cumming and Forsyth County's receipt of a "100 Best Communities for Young People" award, given out by America's Promise Alliance. It's the second time the community has received the award, the first being given in 2010.

The annual award, submitted by United Way of Forsyth County and Forsyth County Schools (FCS), recognizes the community for its outstanding and innovative work in addressing the high school dropout crisis. The community is also recognized for its programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow.

Luis Abarca of America's Promise Alliance and ING Foundation said there have been many communities all over the U.S. that have been "touched by this competition."

He commended Cumming and Forsyth for doing the positive things that are being done in the community to ensure that young people graduate from high school and have a future.

"I am very honored that you guys are winning," he said.

During the event Dr. L.C. (Buster) Evans, Superintendent of Forsyth County Schools, acknowledged Ruth Goode of United Way of Forsyth County and Judi Jenkins of FCS who were instrumental in getting the community recognized.

"They did the leg work that makes this possible," said Evans. "Judi and Ruth thank you, this community thanks you, the school system thanks you and we really appreciate your work and the reason we're here today."

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said people choose to live in the community because of the schools.

"Education is the number one thing they look at," he said.

James McCoy, president of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, spoke about opportunity within the community.

"Opportunity is here, opportunity for young people is really opportunity for everybody," he said.

McCoy added that the community has a great future ahead.

The event also included presenting two awards; the SAT 2400 Challenge Cup and the Greatest Gains Award given to Lambert High School for having the highest overall SAT scores of any high school in Forsyth County.

Dr. Evans explained that the SAT 2400 Challenge initiative was created to find ways to improve SAT scores, review performance and set goals within the school system. He also said as part of that initiative, recognizing achievement was equally important.

Also recognized was Persephany Peterson, a student at North Forsyth High School who spoke of her struggles growing up and overcoming the odds by having the tools and help of the community to do so.

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