With bookbags packed with pencils, paper and notebooks, more than 3,000 children began a new school year Monday in Dawson County.
It was a day of “firsts” for many children, especially those entering kindergarten or making the transition to middle or high school.
Caleb McWhorter, 5, was one of 298 students beginning their educational careers as kindergartners in the Dawson County School System.
Nervous about his first day at Robinson Elementary School, McWhorter said he was “excited to be going to school and making new friends.”
It was a bittersweet moment for his mother, Melody McWhorter. Her son was ready for school, though she said she couldn’t believe how fast five years had gone by.
According to Dawson County Superintendent Keith Porter, the first day went smoothly.
“Everything went well,” Porter said. “We were glad to see all the smiling faces, new and old, filling the hallways, and we were glad that everyone made it to school safe.”
The school chief said that the system opened the new school year with 3,418 students.
“Once everything calms down and people settle into the school routine, we should have 3,451 students systemwide,” he said.
The school with the highest enrollment Monday was Dawson County High School, with 937 pupils.
Robinson, the district’s oldest and largest elementary school, drew 678 students. Kilough Elementary School was up to 512 students, while Black’s Mill Elementary School boasted 448.
With a year under its belt, Dawson County Middle School had 455 students, or about 10 more than last year. Riverview Middle School also grew by a handful of students, to 351.
“We’ve had some growth between this year and last year, and with the large incoming kindergarten class, we probably will start steadily growing soon,” Porter said.