Hounded by the bell

LIHUE – Walmart will sell enough yellow highlighters to color almost 100,000 school buses. Corporate headquarters said the stores will also sell enough glue to seal the crack in the Liberty Bell more than 5,000 times. 

“This back to school season, we’re continuing to see bright colors and patterns in everything from apparel to backpacks and scissors,” said Lihue store manager, Crystal Fernandes. “Chevron and animal print are big for girls, while camo is popular for both boys and girls. In warm climates, like Kauai’s, we know customers will be drawn to our short-sleeved character tees and graphic tees.”

Fernandes said they’re also seeing an increase in demand for novelty items like pencil cases, lip glosses and hand sanitizers.

The average family will spend around $670 this year on back to school supplies, up 5 percent from last year, according to National Retail Federation data released last week. Nationally, that number is much bigger, as nearly $75 billion will be spent. 

Zoe Harold of Puhi isn’t necessarily ready to return to school quite yet. The fourth grader has spent her summer playing Wii Games. 

“I got a light blue pencil box already,” said Harold. “I am going to need new markers and crayons.” 

Nationwide, glue sticks, 24 count crayons and 24 count colored pencils are the top three school supply items sold at Walmart in the two weeks leading up to the start of elementary school.

Nicole Matsushige will be attending Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School and is sad summer is over. Her mother usually takes Matsushige and her younger sister shopping for school supplies.

“I like getting to choose the stuff we’re going to use,” Matsushige said. 

School starts up again Aug. 1. She thinks the summer passed in a flash and is happy they were able to visit Oahu, play at the water park and see animals at the zoo. 

Dr. Kayse Budd, a medical doctor who works with families on Kauai, said it is important to set priorities for the remainder of the summer and rest of the year. Her motto is that play dates are for everyone, not just kids. 

“I believe seeking and reaching balance in life is part of the recipe for happiness,” Budd said. “We are an overworked and over-stressed society, in general. We also can become a bit fixed and sedentary in our habits, if we aren’t paying close attention, and our habits may actually not be all that healthful or joyful.”

Gavin Mangayayam will be attending Waimea Canyon Middle School in the fall. He squeezed the most he could out of the freedom that the summer months provided.

“I relaxed,” Mangayayam said. “I didn’t have to worry about anything for three months. I wish summer could last longer.”

Mariah Aguada, a third grader at Kapaa Elementary, is looking forward to school. Her mother already shopped with her for supplies for her and two of her younger siblings. 

“I got a book bag with love and hearts on it,” Aguada said. “It’s pink!”

Budd emphasizes goal-setting with children for the upcoming school year. 

“Find out what a child wants to change about their behavior from the previous year. The more specific they are, the better,” she said. “Whether it is a goal for sports or arts or perfect attendance or better grades, if a child sets a goal they are more likely to enter school with enthusiasm and motivation.”

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