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Last day of school bittersweet for Richmond County students

Friday, May 24, 2013 5:52 PM
Last updated Saturday, May 25, 2013 1:49 AM
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By the end of the day Friday, even Garrett Elementary School Principal Doug Frierson had cupcake on his hands,

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Camiya Carpenter (center, yellow headband) is caught in a group hug Friday with Keasia Benton (far right), Haylee Seigler and Ashanti Mathis as they all say goodbye during the last school day at Garrett Elementary School.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Camiya Carpenter (center, yellow headband) is caught in a group hug Friday with Keasia Benton (far right), Haylee Seigler and Ashanti Mathis as they all say goodbye during the last school day at Garrett Elementary School.

The classrooms were filled with desserts, games and movies. Music teacher David Neches put on a concert extravaganza for all 274 students in the cafetorium.

But despite the celebration for the long-awaited summer, not everyone was ready to leave.

“I’m sad,” fourth-grader Brittany Rogers said. “You miss your friends if they move away and you can’t see them probably. But it’s happy because we get to go in the pool (in the summer).”

The 2012-13 school year came to an end for Richmond County elementary and middle school pupils Friday, one day after high school students had their last day.

For Frierson, it was the end of his first year as a principal in Richmond County. His year was filled with getting to know the tight-knit school and becoming part of its community.

Instructional coach Carson Thompson helped at the beginning by making him a “facebook” with the names and photos of teachers and staff. Almost a year later, they closed the school as a family, with an ice cream social at the school with no kids and no papers to grade – just to celebrate one another’s work.

“It’s mixed emotions because obviously we’re excited about the end of the year … but this is like home,” Frierson said. “It’s such a great atmosphere. This is the first school I’ve been to where I hear kids say, ‘I don’t want to leave.’ ”

When the bell rang Friday, friends hugged and remembered the good times from the school year.

Teachers danced to music outside while pupils filed onto buses.

Fourth-grader Ashanti Mathis, 10, said she’ll never forget the school’s field day where she had to balance a wet sponge on her head. They also had carnival and Garrett Ghost day, but she also remembered her lessons in friction, the food chain and Harriet Tubman.

It was going to be a long summer.

“Oh, we had fun in school here,” Ashanti said.

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