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Another year in the books
Students and staff eager for long break
From left, Nathan Smith, Maxwell Deisch and Justin Ratliff gather as they leave Riverwatch Middle School for summer break. - photo by Jim Dean


The Forsyth County school system’s high school graduations are set for the following:

* Today: Forsyth Central, 10 a.m. at Cumming Fairgrounds

* Tuesday: North Forsyth, 2 p.m.; West Forsyth, 7 p.m.; both at Arena at Gwinnett

* Wednesday: South Forsyth, 2 p.m.; Lambert, 7 p.m.; both at Arena at Gwinnett

* Note: Forsyth Academy’s graduation was Friday night.

In one room, children were rocking out to the Harlem Shake. Across the hall, fourth-graders were flicking papers at each other. A few doors down, students toasted the day with cans of Coke.

There were also tears, many hugs and plenty of smiles Friday as Sawnee Elementary students celebrated the last day of school.

Shyanne Barnett said she was sad to leave her fourth-grade teacher, but with summer vacation coming she’ll “get to see my friends more.”

Barnett said she’s going to spend a lot of time with her friends and is excited “because we get to sleep in.”

For Vivian McGuire, it’s all about vacation.

“We’re going to the beach,” she said. “I’m not sure where, it’s some sort of resort.”

Fourth-grade teacher Carrie Brooks will be spending much of her time at the beach as well. But in addition to relaxing, her summer break will be spent planning.

“I’m going to second grade next year, so I’m getting myself organized,” she said.

The way Brooks sees it, summer break for kids is a much-needed “chance to recuperate and come back and prepare themselves for next year.

For teachers, it’s “a chance to reflect on what we did this year and get ready to make ourselves better for next year.”

The first day of classes in the 2013-14 school year is set for Aug. 8.

As he prepared to attend the first of the school system’s high school graduations, Superintendent Buster Evans wished his “staff and students a happy and safe summer vacation.”

“Many of our staff will be working throughout the summer to plan for a strong 2013-14 school year,” he said. “Our students have great opportunity this summer to spend time with family, and also exploring new learning opportunities with reading, camps and trips.”

Iveth Caruso was all smiles as she waited at the front of the line for parent pickup Friday at Sawnee. Her daughters Brittany and Isabella “just love the summer.”

“They cant wait to go in the pool and they can’t wait to go places,” she said.

But Friday was bittersweet, as it was the last day her older daughter, Brittany, would attend Sawnee. Next year, she heads to Liberty Middle School.

“It’s exciting, but it’s sad having a fifth-grader because they are the big kids in the school and then they’re going to be the little ones again. But’s going to be a whole new routine,” she said.

“On the other hand, we have time to relax and enjoy the summer.”