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School's out for summer
Staff, students celebrate with eye toward next year
Teacher Cindy Boier hugs students as they walk to their buses on the last day of school at Johns Creek Elementary. - photo by Autumn McBride

For Forsyth County’s graduating seniors, the end of the school year means the next step in life. Here's the local high school graduation schedule:

* Forsyth Academy -- 6 p.m. at Lambert High School

* Central -- 10 a.m. at the Cumming Fairgrounds

* North -- 3 p.m.
* West -- 7 p.m.
Both at Gwinnett Arena

June   1
* South -- 3 p.m.
* Lambert -- 7 p.m.
Both at Gwinnett Arena

Source: Forsyth County Schools

Piggyback rides, hugs, skipping. It may have seemed like they were celebrating a sports championship, but for Forsyth County students it was just the end of another school year.

“It’s the last day of school and we didn’t really have to learn much, it’s just all fun stuff,” said Little Mill Middle School student William Warner after the final bell rang. “I’ve been waiting for this part of the day to come.”

The anticipation has been building for summer vacation. Mike Mathis, who was first in line to pick up his son, Daniel, after classes let out at the school in northeastern Forsyth, said it’s an exciting day.

“It’s been hard for him to get sleep,” he said. “He’s excited about getting out of school and usually a couple of weeks after he’s out, he really misses his friends.”

Warner said it’s the same for him. He was thrilled when classes let out Wednesday, but “when it gets toward the beginning of the school year, I kind of want to come back."

“For the first part, it’s like a good break," he said. "But then you start missing school and you want to get together with all your friends.”

He won't have too long to wait. The first day of classes for the 2011-12 school year is Aug. 11.

In the meantime, fellow student Faith McGehee said she’s looking forward to seeing her new baby cousin during a trip to Florida.

She welcomes the break, but it also means saying goodbye.

“I’m going to the beach and spending time with my family that I usually don’t get to [see],” she said. “I’ll miss all my friends, especially the ones that are moving away this year.”

The end of the school year is always bittersweet for seventh-grade literacy teacher Cindy Evans.

She and sixth-grade social studies teacher Symantha O’Byrne were holding a banner and waving goodbye to students as they drove off with their parents, as they have done every year since the school opened in 2007.

“Symantha and I opened the school together and we always stay out here ... at the end,” she said. “We grew up with these kids, we feel like. From sixth grade on through.”

The two waved to a high school student picking up her sister. Just a few years ago, she was at their middle school. Now, she’s old enough to drive.

“We’re always very proud of what they’ve done and what they come back to show us,” Evans said. “The last day of school is a lot of fun because a lot of high schoolers come by to say hi and visit.”