Back to School, Boys and Girls

Students throughout the North Druid Hills-Briarcliff area return to school today. For some it'll be the same old-same old. Others will see big changes.

Maggie Housworth said she has no great qualms about walking into a new school building this morning. If her parents had their druthers, she'd be dropped off at this morning as a newly minted fourth-grader.

But the DeKalb County School System closed Medlock Elementary in June, and when Maggie sits down for class this morning, she'll be in along with more than 50 of her classmates.

"I was a little excited, a little nervous," she said about the moment she heard she was headed to a new school. She said she was slightly anxious about "having to meet new teachers, getting to meet new friends and having a whole new system."

Medlock was one of several nearby schools that found itself splintered following a March board of education vote. Roughly 100 of Maggy's classmates are headed to , and the others will go to Avondale Elementary School.

"Laurel Ridge is a good school, and we accepted Medlock's fate last spring and prepared mentally to accept the change," said Maggie's father, Tommy Housworth.

The school system is projecting an enrollment of 98,300 students this year countywide, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It added 350 new teachers.

Among several major renovation and construction projects undertaken of the summer, had one of the most significant. The school added 25 classrooms, a fine arts center and update bathrooms . The Valhalla Project, an independent fundraising effort to improve the school's athletic facilities, also they've raised $120,000 to date.

Volunteers were also items back into the newly renovated school through the weekend.

Shamrock Middle School also officially changed its name to – a move made to better align itself with the school it feed into, Druid Hills High. The school also completed a series of cosmetic upgrades and other improvements. See .

But to students, today will more likely mark the end of summer. Maggie spent the summer swimming, bowling and she vacationed in St. John, Virgin Islands.

But she said she visited her new school during a recent open house, and she's looking forward to the year.

“It was really big, and they had a few hallways and a really big lunchroom," she said. “I’ll get to meet new friends and have a good time.”


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