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Dawson County youth begin new school year
Officials expect final count to exceed 3,000
2 School Starts pic 2
Patrick Johnston, a sixth grade teacher at Riverview Middle School, leads his students on a tour of their new school. - photo by Adam C. Stapleton

More than 3,000 children began a new year of school in the Dawson County School System Monday morning.


It was a day of “firsts” for many, as children entering kindergarten, middle school, high school, or even American  schools  for the first time realized they had a whole new set of expectations laid before them on the path toward adulthood.


For Kilough Elementary School second grader William Harding, the day marked his first day of school in America.


“We moved here a few years ago, then went back to the UK (United Kingdom), where he spent kindergarten and first grade. Now we’re back here,” said William’s father, Andy.


The morning also marked the official opening of Dawson County’s newest facility of public education, Dawson County Middle School.


Dawson County Superintendent of Schools Nicky Gilleland said the new middle school’s current number of students is 445. Riverview Middle School welcomed about 340 students.


Gilleland said Black’s Mill Elementary School and Kilough Elementary School had a similar number of students with 454 at Black’s Mill and 461 at Kilough.


Dawson County High School’s attendance roll ended with 978 students.  


Robinson Elementary School saw 686 in attendance.


Robinson Elementary School Principal Roxanne Fausett said she was pleased with how well the first day of school went.


“It’s been a very good day. We got them in their classes, fed them lunch and sent them home. The day’s gone by quickly,” she said.


Black’s Mill Elementary School Principal Julia Mashburn had a similar reaction to the day’s events.


“The first day of school is probably the most important. We want to make that great first impression and remind them that the first day is the best time to set their pace for success,” said Mashburn.


Gilleland said his current tally of the number of student enrolled in the Dawson County School System is approximately 3,364. He expects that number to increase as students who missed the first day of class come in later.


“We’ve planned for about 3,393 students this year,” said Gilleland.


E-mail Adam C. Stapleton at