Shop local, prepare soon for return to class

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Only two-and-a-half weeks remain of summer vacation for local students and teachers. This means school bells will soon be ringing across Barnwell County.

We know this may not come as welcome news to students – and possibly educators – but August 15 will be here before you know it. That’s why it is important to make preparations now, including having the right tools.

Do your children have the necessary school supplies?

If not, the upcoming sales tax holiday on August 5-7 is the perfect opportunity to check off your child’s school supply list. Paper, pencils and other school supplies along with clothes, computers, bath towels and other back-to-school items will be tax exempt during those three days.

To learn more about South Carolina’s sales tax holiday, including a list of tax-exempt items, visit the Department of Revenue’s website at https://dor.sc.gov.

Please support our local businesses – big and small – for your back-to-school needs. This will help them thrive and grow.

Some of these businesses already have lists of supplies required by classroom.

While you are shopping for your family, we encourage you to buy a few extra supplies for those who are less fortunate.

The Barnwell County United Way will hold their annual Stuff the Bus school supply drive August 19-20 in front of Walmart in Barnwell to collect supplies for the county’s three public school districts. Go ahead and buy supplies during the tax-free weekend so you can save money.

If you are unable to afford the necessary supplies for your children, there are several opportunities to get free supplies.

Greater Faith Ministries, located at 179 Calhoun Street in Barnwell, will sponsor their annual Back to School Bash along to include health awareness information on August 6 from 10 a.m. to noon. Children must come with an adult. For more information, call (803) 259-0405.

On Sunday, August 7, the Third Annual Unity in the Community Back to School Bash will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at Williston-Elko High School. Prayer at the flag pole will be held at 3:45 p.m. There will be popcorn, snow cones, fellowship, school supplies and fun. The event is sponsored by the W-E CommUNITY Coalition.

If you know of more back-to-school events, please contact us by emailing jonathan.vickery@morris.com or (803) 259-3501. Announcements can also be faxed to (803) 259-2703.

Now is a good time to check with your child’s school to see what other preparations need to be made in advance of the first day of school. Several schools are holding registration events in the coming weeks.

Some of those preparations include vaccinations and physicals for participation in sports.

We also encourage parents to start getting their children in a back-to-school routine. This includes going to bed earlier so they can adjust to school schedules after the summer break.

This is also a great time to talk with your children about your expectations for the school year. It never hurts to have goals so your child can work hard to succeed academically.

Please stay involved in your child’s academics throughout the year. It’s been proven that students perform better when their parents are involved in their academics. We encourage parents to attend school events, stay current with academic progress, maintain contact with teachers, and just show you care.

This is a recipe for academic success.

Included in next week’s edition of The People-Sentinel will be the Barnwell County School Calendar. It has important dates listed for all three public school districts as well as Jefferson Davis Academy.

The summer sand is quickly going through the hour glass so remember to shop local, prepare early and plan for a wonderful 2016-17 school year!