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Buford students hit the books on first day of school

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Buford Elementary School kindergarten student Cooper Berry, far right, gets up to hand in his assignment during the first day of school Thursday afternoon.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Buford Elementary School kindergarten student Cooper Berry, far right, gets up to hand in his assignment during the first day of school Thursday afternoon.

BUFORD -- The first day of school is an important one. Students learn the ground rules for the rest of the year.

For kindergartners, the importance of that first day is magnified, said kindergarten teacher Leanne Tarleton with Buford Elementary.

"The students come in and they're so eager to learn," Tarleton said. "By the end of the year they've learned to read and write stories. I get to watch them grow so much every year."

Her student, 5-year-old Mason Puckett, said he'd learned plenty on his first day.

When asked, Puckett said, "Yes, sir. I enjoyed learning, writing ... and drawing rockets."

"It was a good day," Puckett added.

It was a good first day for the entire school system, said Superintendent Geye Hamby.

"We had another fantastic opening, and we have continued to experience positive growth in each of our schools," Hamby said. "Faculty and staff were pleased to have the students of our community return to the classroom."

Hamby said Buford City Schools saw an increase of 235 students this school year. In total, there are about 3,300 students.

Buford Elementary Principal Melanie Reed said the first day is "especially exciting for kindergarten. It's an exciting day for the parents and students as well."

Added Reed: "We have a lot of parents walk their kids into school the first day. We probably had more moms crying this morning than we did the students," she said, smiling.

Buford Elementary kindergarten teacher Fran Bagley said she looked forward to another year at the school.

"I love teaching this age group," Bagley said. "It's their first real school experience. It's really exciting for me, and it's really exciting for them too."

She said as far as first days go, kindergarten is about the most important first day there is.

"Half of them come in not knowing how to write their name, hold a pencil or use scissors," Bagley said. "By the end of the year, they'll be writing sentences. To me, this is the most growth they'll experience in their academic career."