Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

August 15, 2013

Local students head back to the books

BLUEFIELD — Today is the first day of school in Mercer, Tazewell and McDowell counties and opening day is fast approaching in other districts, so parents and their children are making those last-day shopping trips to get everything needed for the classroom.

Parents and children roamed Wednesday through the Mercer Mall for some back to school shopping. Supplies were needed for students ranging from preschool to high school. In each case, the total price tags demonstrated that shopping for school was an investment for any household. How much was spent in each case depended on the age and number of children, and the items they required.

“Not very much,” Rick Caruso, 25, of Princeton said when asked how much he had to spend for school. He watched as his 5-year-old son played with other children. “About $100, and I think we bought a game. Half of that stuff the teacher is going to use, like class supplies and stuff, but it’s not bad.”

Another parent had to fulfill a request each of her three sons’ teachers had made.

“Lots of three-ring binder,” said Laura King, 41, of Bluefield, Va., whose boys are 6, 14, and 15 years old. “Every teacher wants them. I usually spend about $100 or more per child. For the younger ones, they (teachers) ask for them to have Kleenexes and wipes. We spend more for the older boys because they need scientific calculators.”

Benny Mullins, 33, of Bluefield was sitting on a bench and taking a break from shopping. He had two teen sons and a daughter to prepare for school.

“Yes, it costs you,” Mullins said of back to school shopping. “It seems like every year it gets more expensive.”

For older students, the most expensive item is shoes, he said.

A McDowell County resident with two grandsons agreed that getting shoes was a top dollar item. New jackets were another item on the shopping list.

“That’s what they were doing the day before yesterday,” said 56-year-old Paul Williams of Northfork. One grandson had new shoes that cost $85, and they were on sale. Williams hunts out less expensive footwear.

Williams laughed. “I’m used to getting shoes for $10 or $15.”

Most shoppers were veterans of back to school sales, but one Cedar Bluff, Va., man was getting his three little girls ready for the first time.

“This is my first roll around,” said 26-year-old Rodney Fuller. He was seeking “clothes that fit, shoes and backpacks.”

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