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U.S. tour planned for Byne event

Byne Christian School Spanish teacher Juana Smith is promoting this year’s Destination Byne program which focuses on learning about individual states in the USA.

Byne Christian School Spanish teacher Juana Smith is promoting this year’s Destination Byne program which focuses on learning about individual states in the USA.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Last year, the students and teachers at Byne Christian School took visitors around the world. This year, they'll stick a little closer to home.

A number of America's 50 states will be the ports-of-call Friday when Byne hosts its second "Destination Byne" open house. The fun evening kicks off at 5:30 p.m. and continues until 7:30.

"I've been here four years, and last year's Destination Byne was one of the best events of any kind we've had at the school," Headmaster David Bess said Tuesday. "Everyone -- the parents of our students, the students themselves and visitors -- had such a good time. We're hoping for that kind of success again this year."

Classrooms featured student-created exhibits from countries around the world during the first Destination Byne, and Juana Smith, one of the event's primary organizers, said this year's excursion will focus on several American states.

"Last year, visitors had to get a passport and they were 'flown by airplane' to all our destinations," Smith, who teaches Spanish at Byne, said. "This year everyone will take a train ride to the various states. Travelers who visit and get their tickets stamped at each stop will be entered in a drawing for tuition discounts during the next school year."

Smith said visitors will have an opportunity to make stops in Texas, California, Idaho, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Colorado, Hawaii and, of course Georgia.

"Destination Byne meets dual purposes," Smith, a native of the Dominican Republic, said. "It's an open house, but it's also an educational opportunity for our students. The teachers select states that tie in with what they're teaching: Our third-grade instructor is teaching Georgia history, so she took our state; another knows a lot about Florida, so he selected that state.

"In my Spanish classes, we are learning about the Mexican populations in Texas, Colorado and California and the Puerto Rican population in New Jersey, so my classes selected those states."

Students will create displays to show off various features of the states selected by their classes, and visitors will be invited to learn about the destinations as well as enjoy snacks popular in each.

"One of the nice things about this school is that the parents are so supporting," Smith said. "Our school has begun to grow, and I think it's because God has a plan for us. God is a rewarder, and I know He is rewarding me by allowing me to teach here."

Bess encouraged members of the public to make Byne their destination of choice Friday.

"About 90 percent of the students who attend a particular private school do so because of good things they've heard about the school," the Byne headmaster said. "We want the community to come out and see what we have to offer, to meet our students, faculty and parents and ask them about opportunities at Byne.

The enrollment process for the 2012-13 school year at Byne opened this week.