Dawson County school system enrollment
Dawson County High 964
Hightower Academy 45
Dawson County Middle 434
Riverview Middle 388
Black’s Mill Elementary 321
Kilough Elementary 378
Riverview Elementary 266
Robinson Elementary 576
Note: According to school officials, figures may rise or fall slightly due to late enrollment or withdrawal. Both Kilough and Riverview elementary schools are expecting pre-kindergarten classes of 21 and 35, respectively, while Hightower Academy projects an increase to 68 students.
Source: Dawson County school system
There were yawns and dragging feet aplenty, but smiles were most common Friday morning at Robinson Elementary as students returned for a new school year.
Most children were so eager to get in the doors and into their new classrooms, faculty had to chase them down.
Robinson staff members were on hand as every vehicle and school bus pulled up.
"We want to make sure everyone gets where they are supposed to go," Principal Roxanne Fausett said. "The easier we can make the first day for everyone, the better the start to the school year."
While the children may have been excited to start school, some parents weren’t so happy to let them go.
"He’s excited, but we aren’t," said Christian Parker of son Ethan, who started his first year of public school. "I think that’s the hardest part."
The child’s father, Jarrad Parker, said he was nervous for him.
"He’s been going to a small pre-K and this is a lot bigger, so I’m worried about how he’ll feel with so many people," he said.
Robinson Elementary welcomed 576 students Friday, the second highest enrollment in the district behind only Dawson County High’s 964.
As for Ethan Parker, he was all smiles Friday morning and said he wasn’t nervous about his first day.
"I’m excited," he said.
While the jitters his parents felt sending their first child off to school could be explained, those who have gone through the process several times say it never gets easier.
Michael Priest said knowing what to expect helps, though it can still a difficult experience.
"It’s not as hard the second time, but it’s still hard to send him off to school," he said of son Joshua.
Even the parents of students who attended preschool close to their new campus said the transition to kindergarten isn’t simple.
"He went to pre-K, so it’s not as hard," said Justin Burt as he dropped off son Hunter, a new kindergartener.
"It’s still a little hard though, it just shows you how fast the time goes."
Kendra Coker, a kindergartner, said she was looking forward to making new friends.
Her mother, Stacey Coker, wasn’t as enthusiastic.
"She wants to ride the bus home," Stacey Coker said. "My oldest didn’t start riding the bus until fifth grade, so I’m terrified.
"It’s just so hard sending them off to school."
The Dawson County school system began the year with 3,372 students in kindergarten through 12th grades, a figure Superintendent Keith Porter expects will rise in the days and weeks ahead.
"We expect that number to go up around another 50 kids or so," Porter said. "We really won’t have firm numbers until after Labor Day."