By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Forsyth Central special needs students express their passions
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News


The Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Manchester Court subdivision clubhouse, North Old Atlanta Road, between Highway 9 and Castleberry Road. For information, contact president Randy O'Dell at or visit

CUMMING — The Sawnee-Cumming Optimist Club recently sponsored an "Expressing My Passion" program for students with special needs at Forsyth Central High School.

Twenty six students from the classes of teachers Melanie Averitt, Asheley Bell and Kaci Sanderson prepared storyboards consisting of pictures and details about what they loved most.

They were encouraged by attendees who ranged from parents and educators to friends and Optimist Club members. 

"The special needs students did an excellent job," said Nancy Clackum, the club’s coordinator for the program. "It gave them the opportunity to express themselves, and they were so effective and impressive in demonstrating their communication skills."

Cindy Bryant, interpreter for the special needs students, said she has seen how "giving our students an occasion to present in front of their peers and adults builds their self-esteem and confidence.”

“I appreciate the work the Optimist Club does in partnering with educators in Forsyth County to give our students this exceptional opportunity,” she said.

The students were presented with medals and certificates for their accomplishments. The teachers received plaques, while the paraprofessionals and student aids got certificates.

"The motto of the Optimist Club is ‘Bringing Out the Best in Kids,’” said Randy O'Dell, president of the local club. "Our goal is supporting the well-being of children and promoting the goals of optimism in the community." 

For information about Optimists, call O'Dell at (404) 791-2189,