ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — By the end of this week, students around Monroe County and all neighboring counties will be back in school to kick off a new year. Some families are using the Labor Day weekend to finish school shopping and help kids prepare for classes.  

No matter what grade their children were heading into, parents said it never gets easier preparing for the start of a new school year. Every store we went to had constant foot traffic coming in and out.

Charities also went out of their way to make sure students had what they needed.  

Outside the Square Market Strip Mall in Henrietta, families felt the start of the school year snuck up on them, even as some tried to buy all their essentials earlier in the summer.  

“We got some folders like the basic use of things that we need,” Jen Lagana said, as she was shopping for her two kids. “Pens and papers throughout the summer when it was on sale.”  

“It’s been very quick over the summer here and I can’t believe the school year is upon us,” Brian Tomcik, father of a McQuaid sophomore, said. “So, we’ve been busy at the stores shopping for all sorts of clothing and shoes. He’s been very unhappy about starting up the school year again, I think he really enjoys summer.”

Throughout this process, every parent we spoke to felt this time around the opening of a new year felt easier with fewer chances of COVID-19 pushing classes online and making students quarantine.  

“We’re not really worried about if we have to mask or if they’re sick or what all the rules are,” Leigh Peters, whose kids attend the Rush Henrietta School District, explained. “So that part has been nice.”

In Rochester, students of RCSD volunteered with the non-profit Save Rochester to complete 20 hours of community service in their final week of summer. In return, they would receive a new pair of sneakers for the school year.  

“Renewed confidence, pride, a feeling that they’ve earned something they can be proud of,” Save Rochester founder Mike Johnson said. “I know it’s something they can really resonate with their peers when they explain to their peers what the program is about.” 

“We’re not really doing it for the rewards that we’re getting, we’re just doing it to help out and give back,” 14-year-old Prandon Forbes said. “Because I remember a time when I didn’t have food and I don’t like seeing people down. Both of us came from the same circumstances of poverty and we hate to see it.”  

If you are still unsure about anything your child may need to start off the school year right, you can contact their teacher or see if the school district has a checklist on their website.