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New school year dawns
A few traffic snags, but first day goes smoothly
Alex Shubert visits with classmates as they wait for school to begin Thursday at Vickery Creek Middle. - photo by Jennifer Sami

Holding her mother’s hand, Ayla Schroeder was ready to start the school year Thursday at Big Creek Elementary.

Her mom, however, wasn’t as prepared to say goodbye to her oldest child.

“My little girl skipped kindergarten, so it’s her first day of a real school today,” Terri Schroeder said. “It’s terrifying for me. She’s excited.

“She’s excited to be growing up and I’m terrified because she’s growing up.”

Schroeder wasn’t alone Thursday. Parents across the school system were misty-eyed — and students were both excited and nervous — as the 2013-14 year began.

The Forsyth County school system welcomed about 40,300 students and more than 4,200 employees across its 35 campuses.

As a sixth-grader, Thursday was Sarah Sheehan’s first day at Vickery Creek Middle. But with friend Marie Kersey by her side, she was all smiles as she entered the school.

“I got a really good teacher this year,” she said. “We’re going to get to do lots of cool projects.”

Sheehan and other sixth-graders likely will spend the first few days on a learning curve, adjusting to a new campus and having to use lockers.

According to chorus teacher Melissa Grizzle, the first day is an exciting experience for the older students.

“For the eighth-graders, they’re excited because they get to be the big dogs. Seventh-graders are probably excited because they’re not the babies of the school anymore,” she said.

Grizzle feels fortunate because she teaches chorus and gets “to see them every day for three years.”

“It’s fun getting to see how much they’ve changed over the summer and knowing that we get to spend another year together,” she said.

Many schools had lines of parents waiting to drop off their children and bus delays caused some traffic backups, but Superintendent Buster Evans said all that was “relatively typical for a first day.”

“Car drop-off lines were long at schools, and there were some bus situations that we are working on, such as late buses,” Evans said. “I would like to thank our staff for diligently working to make today a success.

“I visited numerous schools today and found that all have had great first days. Students fell quickly into the routine, and were in class engaged in learning activities.”

Officials reminded residents to use caution and allow extra travel time over the next couple of weeks as school bus and traffic patterns settle down.