By Alicia Couch Payne

It is a long-standing tradition within Buford Elementary School, Buford Academy and Buford Senior Academy of celebrating the 100th day of school by dressing up as either rock stars or elderly people. This year, this celebration takes on an extra special meaning.

After school was moved to being fully digital in March of last year and having ended the 2019-2020 school year that way, many questioned whether students would be able to return to in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Administrators with Buford City Schools, as well as members of the Board of Education, think children belong in the classrooms, that they miss out on so much in an all-digital learning environment. So the school system worked tirelessly all summer long to prepare to welcome back Buford students in person. 

Students were welcomed back to the halls of Buford City Schools on Aug. 12, 2020. The school year has been one about being flexible and adaptable as the coronavirus situation has continued to evolve. BCS staff members, parents and students have all had to do their part to make this school year a success.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, Buford City Schools reached the 100th day of school milestone, all the while navigating a pandemic.

 “I never had a doubt we would reach 100 days because of the incredible staff working in this district,” said Dr. Robert Downs, superintendent of the Buford City School district. “It has been a total team effort.” 

This year has been stressful on everyone, but there’s one common theme coming from BCS parents — thankfulness. 

“For our family, making it to our 100th day of school means so much more this year,” said Amanda Rogers, mother of Sam, a third-grader, and first-graders Ben and Leo. ”Our biggest heartbreaks and greatest joys in 2020 were all centered around school. Is it ending? Are we going? Are we staying? When I look around at surrounding schools and bigger districts constantly changing their calendars and schedules, I’m all the more grateful for our little community that believes wholeheartedly that kids need to be in school.” 

Kacy Claxton, who is a mother of Karsyn, a kindergartener, as well as a teacher at Buford Elementary School shared her perspective on making it to this part of the school year. 

Making it to the 100th day of school is a huge accomplishment during these uncertain times,” she said. “My daughter started kindergarten this year and my heart broke for her having to start school wearing masks, social distancing, having dividers between the seats and most of all having to miss out on all the fun Buford traditions! However, Buford has totally rocked it! They’ve made this year extra special even if it meant going out of the way and coming up with ways to make it all happen. Her kindergarten year has been amazing, thanks to Buford! Being a teacher at Buford myself, I can tell you that Buford has done everything they can to make it work!”

Everyone involved in ensuring parents and students have the option to do in-person learning are all rockstars, from the administrators to the school board to the teachers to the custodians who keep the schools extra clean. It also starts at home with the support from parents and students committing to making sure they follow the guidelines. Together we are Buford Strong!

For more photos, pick up a copy of the latest issue of the North Gwinnett Voice. 

100th Day of School Cover. Design by Deanna Allen.
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