Meet Katie Farris Duncan, a 1993 graduate of Buford High School. Katie was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and was raised by Sula Pugh Gower, Ken Farris, Ed Gower and Catherine Farris. Katie’s family quickly made the move to Buford in 1987 because her family resided here. She has two step-siblings on her father’s side, Daren Thompson, 40, and Chris Thompson, 47.
Prior to attending Buford in 1987 for the seventh grade, Katie attended Julington Creek Elementary in Fruit Cove, Florida.
Katie excelled both academically and athletically throughout her time at Buford. She played varsity tennis for three years, varsity cheerleading for one year and varsity softball for four years. During her senior year, Katie was nominated to play on the Gwinnett All County Team for her outstanding softball performances. All while juggling her athletics, Katie managed to maintain an unweighted GPA of 4.0.
Katie was a member of the Bel Canto Chorale for four years, Girls’ Trio for two years and drama department for two years. In fact, Katie won the Literary State Championship in 1992 for Trio. Moreover, Katie was a grade level officer for four years and was a part of Beta club, Key Club and National Honor Society.
Katie’s favorite subject in high school was language arts. She attributes this to Mrs. Pat Nash.
“She taught me a lot about literature and made me love the subject, but she taught me a lot about life as well,” Katie said of Nash. “I went to Europe for the first time with one of her trips. I spent New Year’s Eve in Paris in 1992, an experience that I will never forget, and all of those memories are because of her willingness to take students to see the world.”
When asked what she has learned at BHS and taken into adulthood, Katie said, “The importance of family and relationships.
“Buford still retains its hometown feel, and we remain a family,” she continued. “This town is about family and tradition, and there is no better place to be.”
After her graduation in 1993, Katie attended Shorter College from 1993 to 1997 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She continued on to Piedmont College from 2001 to 2003, where she earned a Master of Arts in English education, and she later returned and graduated in 2008 with a Education Specialist degree in curriculum and instruction.
Katie said she chose to pursue a career in education because she couldn’t imagine pursuing anything else — it was in her blood.
Throughout her college experience, Katie was a member of the Alpha Chi honor society and a member of Delta Sigma Tau sorority, where she served as an officer her senior year. Also, Katie was the president of the InterGreek Council and became one of the pageant directors for the Miss Shorter pageant her senior year.
For about two years, Katie worked for Foothills Charter School at Phillips State Prison two nights a week tutoring inmates as they were working toward their high school diplomas. She said it was one of the most rewarding experiences she’s had as an educator.
Currently, Katie is an eighth grade language arts teacher at Buford Middle School. She resides in Buford with her husband, Max Duncan, and their two sons, Jackson, 17, and Ryland, 13. Katie and her family have a miniature poodle, Austin, and a golden doodle, Fuzzy.
Katie is currently one of the grade-level “baseball moms’’ for the high school baseball teams, where she volunteers to support the players and coaches as needed. She is also the director of the Miss BMS pageant and the coordinator of the BMS eighth grade field trip to Savannah.
Katie remains one of the most significant and impactful alumni of BHS because of her hard work and dedication to the community. She is a true Buford Wolf and will, without a doubt, go on to forever impact the lives of students.
Once a Wolf, always a Wolf!
— Emily Hammond