Pre-kindergarten students Tristan Cantrell and Cooper Southers were anything but intimidated last week when they attended the annual kindergarten round-up in the gymnasium at Rock Creek Park.
The pair showed up early in the day-long event with their moms to get registered for kindergarten in Dawson County for the fall of 2017.
"Yep, I am already in pre-kindergarten," Cantrell said. "I can write my own name."
The left-handed 5-year-old picked up a pen from the table and effectively demonstrated his ability before confessing he doesn't yet know what he's in for.
"I don't know about kindergarten," he said.
Southers quickly showed that he also has no trouble writing his own name and as the youngest of three in his household is also looking forward to moving up.
"I will be in third grade," Southers announced before his mom gently reminded him he would be in kindergarten first.
Southers will be attending Riverview Elementary.
"Ms. Davis at Robinson actually was my brother's teacher, my oldest son's and my middle son's teacher," said Cooper's mom, Hayley, as she looked around the busy room of teachers and volunteers.
Cantrell's mom, Jennifer, said her oldest child is really excited over the thought of starting kindergarten and she is happy for him.
The two moms work together at Citizens Bank.
"I am good right now," she said. "The thought of it makes me want to cry a little bit. It's crazy, but he is excited."
According to Lisa Miller of the Dawson County School System, this year around 185 students registered to begin kindergarten this fall on April 14.
That number will grow as the year goes on.
Representatives from each of the four Dawson elementary schools set up tables to take students' identification and vaccination records so parents could fill out necessary paperwork.
Students were then called by current kindergarten teachers into a separate room for a brief testing process.
Cantrell is already a student at White Oak and will attend Black's Mill Elementary come fall.
A kindergarten teacher from Black's Mill, Leslie White, took Cantrell in for his testing.
In her 16th year of prepping kids for their fall enrollment, White sat with Cantrell as he demonstrated for her his writing ability.
"It is exciting to see all the new students that will join our Black's Mill family in August," White said. "The Dawson County kindergarten teachers, elementary school registrars and central office staff do a fabulous job coordinating this event for our upcoming kindergartners. We are proud to work in Dawson County."
The teachers use a kindergarten readiness test for the new students so that teachers are better prepared and able to plan according to their individual needs.
Once the child completes the assessment, parents are given a score and receive an explanation of the results.
Students and family members also had the chance to make their way around the room to find out about local organizations offering classes, providing handouts and goodies for the up-and-coming kindergartners.
The 2017-2018 school year will begin Aug. 3.