Area parents check off lists before school begins

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ROD GUAJARDO/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Meagan Calkins goes down the checklist of school supplies for her nieces Meredith Lessley, Taylor Lessley and their friend Kayde Price Tuesday afternoon at the Natchez Walmart Supercenter.

With four children ranging in grades from pre-kindergarten to seventh grade, back-to-school shopping for Valarie Roach includes more than just one simple trip to the store.

Toting multiple lists ranging from school uniforms to pens and pencils, Roach attempts to put a method to the shopping madness — splitting up the trips based on her children and their corresponding grades.

“It’s hard to shop for everyone at the same time, because they all need different things,” Roach said. “I tried to do one trip for the younger two, and the next time I did one trip for the older two.

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“But we’re still making trips to get last minute things.”

Roach set somewhat of a store record last week when she took 25 shirts to Rhino Graphics to be embroidered with Monterey School logos for her four children.

As her children move up in grades, Roach said the cost of supplies decreases, but the cost of uniforms increase as they reach the pre-teen and teenager stages.

“The younger ones need like five or eight boxes of crayons, but their clothes are cheaper so it all evens out.” Roach said. “As they get older, they want name-brand stuff and get more picky with the clothes.

“So even though they don’t need as many supplies, we have to take trips to Monroe or Alexandria to get American Eagle shirts.”

Tee Cotten expressed similar sentiments of his two kids, Tripp and Caroline, getting pickier as they get older.

Luckily, Cotten’s wife, Angela, had already done the uniform shopping and he stepped in for the last leg of school supply shopping at Office Depot.

“We got all of the clothes shopping out of the way early and their mom did about 90 percent of that,” Cotten said laughing. “I love doing it that way.”

With his children going into the fourth and sixth grade, Cotten said the picky attitudes are just starting to arise.

“They need less supplies as they get older, but then they get pickier about the few things they do need,” Cotten said. “This year wasn’t that bad, though.”

Caroline, who will be starting her first year at Vidalia Junior High School, said she didn’t have a school supply list for the first time.

“They just said to get binders, pens and pencils,” Caroline said clutching a large blue binder. “I picked this one because it was the biggest one they had.”

And with his school supplies already purchased, the list for Tripp just had one item left.

“I got a Saints backpack,” Tripp said. “It’s the strap across kind, because I don’t like the other ones.”

Even though Natchez-Adams School District schools got an extended summer vacation and won’t start until Aug. 20, D’Antwanette Felder said she wanted to get an early start on back-to-school shopping.

“I do not want to wait until the last minute for anything, so I’ve been shopping early,” Felder said. “We’ve got all the uniforms, logos and the supplies.

“All that’s left is the haircut.”

Felder said her mother, Pamela Evans-Felder, used to handle all the back-to-school shopping for her son, De’Norris Sanders, but she took over this year after Evans-Felder died in June.

“This is my first year doing the shopping, and I didn’t want to forget anything,” Felder said. “And I see that stuff is a little scarce, so I’m really glad I did everything early.”

Felder said all of her shopping had been done for several days, but she returned to Sports Center to make some last-minute exchanges.

But early shopping didn’t matter much to Sanders, 8, who was only along for the ride, wandering through the racks of uniform clothing wishing he was big enough for some of the older boys clothing.

“I’m ready to go to junior high,” Sanders said. “I wish I was going to junior high.”

Holy Family Catholic School started class on Monday.

Cathedral Schools started class on Tuesday.

Adams County Christian School and Trinity Episcopal Day School start class on Thursday.

Concordia Parish School District schools start class on Friday.