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Buford begins school year

BUFORD - Forbes Hamby has always attended Buford City Schools.

The 8-year-old said he went from "pre-K to pre-K to pre-K to pre-K to kindergarten to first grade" at Buford Elementary School, which houses a child care center for the progeny of city employees.

But on Thursday morning, Forbes said he was a little scared about his first day of second grade at Buford Academy.

A few minutes in his classroom changed that.

"Now I'm not scared," Forbes said, adding he's looking forward to "having a lot of fun and learning a lot."

Forbes' father, Superintendent Geye Hamby, said the district had a "tremendous opening."

"We have seen some wonderful, smiling faces. We have already seen instruction taking place the first day," Hamby said. "We could not be more excited about the school year and about all the new faces and new facilities we have."

The district's enrollment grew by about 100 students, with 2,846 pupils reporting to school Thursday, district officials. That number is expected to grow.

Buford Academy opened its addition, which contains about 20 new classrooms, principal Joy Davis said. She said the addition provided "space for growth we knew was coming."

"We have a few empty classrooms," she said. "We're set well to accommodate growth."

Because her school had more space this year, Davis said second-grade classes were moved from Buford Elementary into the Academy, eliminating the need for portable classrooms at the elementary school. The move meant second- and third-graders were new to the school.

Davis welcomed a group of students Thursday morning, giving them instructions on how to get to their classrooms.

"Today is the first day of a new learning journey," she said.

Second-grader Kamryn Roberts, 7, said she was excited about the new school year.

"I think this year will be a lot of fun like last year was," she said.

Meanwhile, Buford High's new principal, Banks Bitterman, said the first day was going well. He said he feels fortunate to be a part of the city school district.

"The other principals and the superintendent and the central office have welcomed me in and made me feel like part of the family," Bitterman said. "We're a team. We're a K-12 team."