Parents and students prepare for a new year with back-to-school shopping

Staff Photo: John Bohn Annalise Hunkele, 4, of Buford, checks out a fancy pair of shoes while back to school shopping with her family at Target in Lawrenceville.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Annalise Hunkele, 4, of Buford, checks out a fancy pair of shoes while back to school shopping with her family at Target in Lawrenceville.


Staff Photo: John Bohn Mallory Michanowicz, 7, left, and her cousin Analise Hunkele, 4, of Buford, try on hats while shopping for back to school clothing at Target in Lawrenceville. Analise's mother Rory Hunkele lead the family outing.


Staff Photo: John Bohn Ariel Anderson, of Lawrenceville, spends a moment shopping for herself after selecting a backpack book bag for her son Kamdon Kitching, 4, a pre K student. Anderson is doing her back to school shopping at Target in Lawrenceville.


Staff Photo: John Bohn Rory Hunkele, of Buford, is shopping for back to school clothes at Target in Lawrenceville with daughter Lyndsay Dronko, 10, at front right and niece Mallory Michanowicz, 7, at left.


Staff Photo: John Bohn Austin Booth, 14, of Hamilton Mill shops for back to school items at Target in Lawrenceville. Booth will be a freshman student at Mill Creek High School.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Rory Hunkele of Buford isn't stressed out about the upcoming school year. She has been buying new clothes and school supplies since her three children were released from school for the summer.

"I've been shopping for the past three months," she said while looking at children's shoes at Target in Lawrenceville. "I did a lot of off-season and online shopping, including school supplies. (Two of my children) were gone with their grandparents in Michigan this summer, so I did (my shopping) then."

Hunkele was searching for pants, shorts, T-shirts and shoes with her daughters Lyndsay Dronko, 10, and Annalise Hunkele, 4. She also brought her niece Mallory Michanowicz, 7, along for a girl's shopping spree.

The younger girls weren't interested in browsing through racks of clothes, but Dronko was picking up articles of clothes throughout the store.

"I'm excited about school because I get to wear my new clothes," she said about starting classes again as a fifth-grader at Freeman's Mill Elementary School. "Well, and I get to see my friends. I have too many clothes -- I can't even decide (what to wear on the first day). I think I'm going to do Abercrombie clothes."

Dronko wasn't the only student at Target getting ready for school. Austin Booth and his mother Carol Booth stopped by to pick up last minute items that they forgot to purchase in earlier supply sweep.

"Back-to-school shopping is a headache," Carol Booth said. "I have to go to too many different stores to get everything. We missed a couple things, so we're back -- minor things like notebooks and wide ruled paper that I thought I'd gotten."

Austin wasn't too worried about the supplies. He was more anxious about the first day of school.

"I'm a little nervous -- I'm going to high school," said the upcoming freshman at Mill Creek High School. "It will be fun though and I'll get to see my friends. I saw some of them over the summer, but not all of them."

Unlike Booth, some students aren't ready to be back in the classrooms just yet.

"I'm not really excited because I don't like getting up early," said Adam Collins, a seventh-grader at Hull Middle School. "You know, 7 a.m."

His mother Linda Collins added, "Wait until you get to high school -- then you'll know early."

With Gwinnett County schools starting on Monday, there were many parents out with their children finding deals on school-related items, but for the first time since 2009, Georgia is offering shoppers a tax holiday on back-to-school goods on Friday and Saturday. The holiday suspends the sales tax on general school supplies, clothing worth $100 or less, and computers and computer accessories.

But no one seemed to know it had returned.

"I had no idea that was happening," Ariel Anderson of Lawrenceville said. "Good thing I've only bought a backpack and lunch box for my son. For pre-K, there isn't really a list, just donations until kindergarten, when you get a 'list' list. We'll see what the (donations) list looks like. I get it tonight. It will probably be a lot of alcohol (cleaning) supplies."

Hunkele didn't know it was happening, but vowed not to participate.

"I wouldn't even try to step foot in a store during that," she said. "I tried that once before and it was a madhouse."

Even though most of the kids are dreading hitting the books, parents are happy to get some time to themselves again.

"I'm going to celebrate," Hunkele said with a laugh. "I'm excited and I'm glad they're going to school so I can have time to myself and clean."

Collins couldn't hold in her excitement about Monday either.

"I'm ecstatic that school is starting," she said. "It just gets boring after awhile. They need to get back to school because you can only play video games for so long."