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Meet Benjie Wood, a graduate of Buford High School from the Class of 1990. Benjie is the son of Benny Wood and Carole Martin. He was raised in Buford and attended Buford City Schools from the time he was a kindergartener through the 12th grade. That puts Benjie in that special group of Buford “lifetimers.”

Benjie was an active student at Buford High School participating in up to three sports at times along with a few clubs. Athletics were his main extracurricular activities as he was a member of both the basketball team and the baseball team from 1987 to 1990. He also participated with the cross country team for a season in 1988. Benjie set the school’s assist record in basketball during his time at BHS.

“I won a few awards, but the one that was most special was the Deano Kilgore Award because Deano was my cousin,” Benjie said.

History and PE were Benjie’s favorite subjects in school. He was a good student, maintaining close to a 4.0 GPA while at BHS. Benjie said his favorite teacher from his Buford High School days was Ashley Newman, a social studies teacher and yearbook advisor.

“Mrs. Newman was just such a genuinely caring person,” Benjie said. “She cared about our well being beyond what we accomplished in the classroom.”

One thing that Benjie said he learned in the hallways and gym of Buford High School was how to have grit. The grit he picked up at BHS has served him well throughout his life.

After graduating from Buford High School, Benjie attended the University of Georgia and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1994. He later achieved a master’s degree from the University of Alabama in 2004 and then his specialist’s degree in 2012 from LMU.

Benjie has come full circle back to the place that taught him so much — he is a PE teacher and the head men’s basketball coach at Buford High School. Benjie was hired in May 2021 to replace Eddie Martin, who was retiring.

Before coming to Buford, Benjie was the head coach at Cherokee Bluff, Gainesville, North Hall, Johnson and Madison County. He had a 447-184 record during those stints as head coach. He led teams to numerous trips into the state playoffs.

When asked why he chose his profession of teaching and coaching, Benjie said, “I had a lot of people influence me as a young person. It’s my turn to give back.

“What I enjoy the most are the relationships and watching these young people grow into adulthood,” Benjie said.

While he wasn’t actively looking for a new job when the opportunity presented itself to return to his alma mater, he just had to take the position.

“It has been very special coming home,” Benjie said. “There are a lot of people in Buford that helped me become the person I am today. I’m excited to give back to the community that has given so much to me. One of my best friends growing up was Tim Wansley. His son Brennan is on our team. That’s very rewarding for me.”

Benjie lives in Flowery Branch with his wife, Nicole. their daughter Avery who is 14 and their son Cooper who is 9. In his downtime, Benjie enjoys spending time with his family and friends, as well as working out.

After learning so much from the staff members at Buford City Schools, including how to have grit, Benjie took those lessons and began a career that helps shape future generations into adults. Benjie is now giving back to the very community that molded him. Once a Wolf, always a Wolf! 

The Buford High School alumni spotlights are made possible by the generosity of the City of Buford. 

BY:

alicia@northgwinnettvoice.com

Alicia joined the North Gwinnett Voice, as the Editor, shortly after the first publication. She is a homegrown Buford native, with the southern charm and "bless your heart" included. ...

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