UPDATE: Development Authority of Dawson County awarded $300,000 grant to help with manufacturer BTD’s local expansion project.
BTD's local campus expansion is set to bring 74 new full-time jobs to the new Dawson County facility.
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Back to school
A-Back to school pic 1
Kilough Elementary Assistant Principal Adam Koskovich greets students as they leave the bus on the first day of school. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

With budgets set, teachers hired and summer building projects nearing an end, schools across Dawson County eagerly opened their doors to students.

Beginning this year on Aug. 7, this has been the first day in more than five years that has included a full calendar for both teachers and students.

"I think it's the result of a board and the actions they have taken this year with the budget, but also the great folks in our school system that have been working hard all spring and summer getting ready for our kids," said Dawson County school superintendent Damon Gibbs.

As of the first three days of school, the system currently has 3,365 students registered for classes.

"That number is going in the direction that we anticipate. We still a few unaccounted for in the line of no-shows, but we'll be narrowing that field down," Gibbs said. "We still have people enrolling on a daily basis. Things are looking good and we are headed in a good direction with our numbers."

The principals echoed their excitement about the first day.

"The first morning is always exciting. I've been doing this for 31 years and I get excited every day," said Robinson Elementary Principal Roxanne Howard. "First day, brand new start, everybody has their new books, supplies, new clothes, new teacher - it's just a great start."

On the other side of the county, Kilough Elementary Principal Tracy Compton said the first few days at her school were "fantastic."

"The first few days of school at Kilough Elementary were fantastic," she said. "Our teachers and students are excited about the new year. A kindergarten student told me on Friday ‘I can't wait to get to my class to learn.'"

Kilough Elementary kindergartener Gracie Lynn Power said she was very excited to begin her first day of school.

"I want to learn all kinds of stuff," she said.

Her mother, Mandy, was equally excited to watch her first child begin her school career.

"She's nervous and I'm a bit for her, too," she said. "But it's a very exciting day, too. She's ready to start."

Other students are starting their last year of elementary school and excited about the different privileges that come with being older.

Robinson Elementary fifth grader Ryan Carter said he is looking forward to the marathon club the school hosts each year.

"You run a mile each week and at the end of 26 weeks, there is a junk food party," he said. "There's candy and stuff, pizza - candy and pizza, stuff like that."

The 2014-2015 Dawson County school year will run from Aug. 7 to May 22.

DCN Intern Amanda Head contributed to this article