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Prepare Early for Back-to-School

Prepare Early for Back-to-School
By Mary C. Fairley

In the 1995 movie “Billy Madison,” Adam Sandler sings: “Back to school, back to school…I’ve got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight…”

Before lunch boxes can be packed, sneakers tied, and pictures for social media uploaded, parents in southern Mississippi will be busy making back-to-school preparations. It’s good to start early…don’t wait!

School Supplies

Lucedale resident Lori Kelley, a Medical Laboratory Technician and student, is mother to George County Middle School seventh grader, Brayden, and fourth grader at Central Elementary, Peyton. Kelley shops with the boys at Walmart when it’s time to stock up for the coming school year. Brayden and Peyton like to select the colors of binders and folders, and choose their own backpacks.

If Walmart does not have the products needed, Kelley orders from Amazon. Anticipate similar savings as Black Friday when you shop on Amazon Prime Day at Amazon Prime Day is expected to be on July 9, 2019. It’s a great time to get most of what your child needs at a good price.

There are two Walmart Supercenters in Hattiesburg, located at 5901 U.S. Highway 49 and at 6072 U.S. Highway 98. Petal (36 Byrd Blvd.) and Laurel (1621 Highway 15 N.) have supercenters as well.

Teachers provide Walmart with lists of required supplies for their classrooms in July. Materials can be ordered from with two-day shipping. For home delivery, free shipping is provided for orders exceeding $35. Shipping is free for goods picked up at the Walmart stores.

Target (6143 U.S. Highway 98) in Hattiesburg is a back-to-school shopper favorite. School List Assist is available. Teachers submit their supply lists, the parents search for the child’s class, and Target will match the list to the items needed. Everything can be added to your cart with one click (at For those with older kids, a college registry can also be created, and if you shop online and pick up at the Target store, there is a 15-percent savings. On busy days when pushed-for-time, you can use the Target app to order school supplies, and then drive up to the store. A Target store team member will load your trunk when you arrive.

Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are also economical sources for school supplies.


Every parent prefers a different retailer for clothing, but Kelley says she likes to purchase her boys’ uniforms at Children’s Place and Old Navy.

The Mississippi Tax Free Weekend 2019 will begin on Friday, July 26 and end on Saturday, July 27. The sales tax holiday allows customers to purchase certain articles of clothing or footwear without having to pay Mississippi sales tax. The cost of articles or footwear must be less than $100 to qualify for the sales tax holiday.

Tropical Glamour (424 East Central Avenue, Petal) is an apparel and gift boutique. Owner Paula Massengale said back to school shopping picks up after July 4. Tropical Glamour sells quality Dickie khakis and polo shirts. Uniforms are available year-round. For young daughters, Tropical Glamour sells cute French Toast dresses and skorts.

Massengale shared that young men favor the knit polo shirt, “Silk Touch,” manufactured by Port Authority.

“They are 100% polyester, wick moisture, resist snags and hold their color without fading,” she said, of the popular item.

The store participates in the Mississippi Tax Free Weekend.

Massengale says students in the Petal school district wear uniforms Mondays through Thursdays, and spirit shirts on Fridays. Tropical Glamour carries hoodies and t-shirts bearing an image of the Petal Panthers.

As you consider packing lunches and tying shoelaces, enjoy and savor the hectic moments preparing for the 2019-2020 school year in southern Mississippi.


Freelance writer Mary C. Fairley is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a wife, mother and grandmother. Mary’s grandchildren like to shop for school supplies at Target. Their backpack choices include: JanSport, Pottery Barn Teen and Vera Bradley. In addition to Parents & Kids-South Mississippi, Mary’s work has been featured in DeSoto Exploring the South and Mississippi Magazine.

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