By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON – Summer vacation is rapidly drawing to a close, and many parents have already begun their back-to-school shopping for the year.
“It seems like these summer vacations get shorter and shorter every year,” said Kirsten Collins, mother of 10-year-old Jaela and 5-year-old Samuel.
“I find myself doing their school shopping at the last minute usually, but this year we are doing a little better,” Collins said.
Collins, who had the usual pencils, paper and folders in her shopping cart, said that, as her daughter becomes older she needs more supplies.
“Now Jaela needs things she hasn’t really needed before,” Collins said. “It’s been a slightly more expensive shopping trip because of that.”
Jaela said she felt her summer vacation had been too short for her liking and that her favorite part of being away from school was getting to swim and sleep later.
“I’m ready to see my friends, though,” she added.
It seems that parents will be purchasing more expensive supplies this year, considering a new survey by the National Retail Federation that states that electronics are becoming more of a necessity in the classroom these days. Parents will spend at least seven percent more on items like laptops and smart phones this year.
Southside Elementary School in Pike County sent out a “suggested school supplies” list for parents, which includes suggestions for each classroom the students are in. Among the items listed are flash drives, journals, notebooks, binders and binder dividers. The list also suggests giving donations of tissues, paper towels, antibacterial hand soaps and hand sanitizers.
Parents responded to a Facebook survey by the Daily News about back-to-school shopping, and many reported that they haven’t received their lists yet.
Estalene Lester, a sixth-grade science and social studies teacher in Mingo County, said most schools request donations rather than telling parents what they must purchase for their children.
“Mingo County schools start back for students on Aug. 14,” Lester said on Facebook. “Teachers report on the 11th. We can suggest things that a student might need, but we can’t send a list that says your child must have these things. We usually ask for donations of hand sanitizer, wipes, paper and pencils.”
Many locations have back-to-school donation boxes, including several stores at the Southside Mall (such as the Dollar Tree, Magic Mart and Curves gym), Wal-Mart and Big Lots. These donation boxes take up anything from backpacks to notebooks, and are usually set out through the end of summer.