Clinton Center’s “Head of the Class Bash” helps students start the school year strong

By Joyce Willis, educational programs manager at the Clinton Foundation

Each year, the Clinton Center hosts the “Head of the Class Bash,” a fun and free back-to-school festival designed to help parents get their children ready to begin the new school year.

In 2000, President Clinton said, “If we want to invest in the prosperity of our Nation, we must invest in the education of our children so that their talents may be fully employed.” He envisioned the Clinton Center as a resource to the community, and “Head of the Class Bash” is a part of fulfilling that vision.

For the second year, the event was held on back-to-back weekends at the Clinton Center in Little Rock and then at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. More than 6,200 people attended both events, which were supported by 3M, Cigna, Delta Dental of Arkansas, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, and the Arkansas Foodbank.

Keep reading to learn more about how “Head of the Class Bash” helped students and parents start this school year strong.

The Clinton Center distributed backpacks filled with school supplies at its “Head of the Class Bash”.

3,000 backpacks filled with required school supplies were given to students.
A recent Deloitte survey found that families spend an average of $104 per child on school supplies. To help take some of this financial burden off of parents, 3,000 backpacks filled with school supplies were given out at “Head of the Class Bash” events.

A student receives a dental screening at the Clinton Center’s “Head of the Class Bash”.

103 students received dental screenings and fluoride treatments.
According to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, tooth decay affects one in four elementary students and two of three adolescents, causing negative effects on self-esteem and a significant impact on overall health and well-being. To promote better oral health, we provided 103 students with dental screening and fluoride treatments.

“My kids are getting dental screenings and immunizations. It’s neat that we can come and get these all done in one day. I will definitely be here next year.”
A student receives a health screening at the Clinton Center’s Head of the Class Bash.

Immunizations were provided to 145 students, and 77 students received health screenings.
In Arkansas, parents are required to provide proof of immunity before their children attend school or daycare to reduce the potential of a communicable disease outbreak. The “Head of the Class Bash” offers immunizations and access to immunization records so parents can obtain all of the back-to-school necessities in one trip.

One parent noted, “I think this is a great program! My kids are getting dental screenings and immunizations. It’s neat that we can come and get these all done in one day. I will definitely be here next year.”

Students participate in a healthy cooking demonstration at the Clinton Center’s “Head of the Class Bash”.

200 families watched healthy cooking demonstrations and took home the ingredients to recreate the recipes.
According to a recent study by Feeding America, more than 185,600 children in Arkansas are at risk of hunger and not getting the food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Mike Selig, director of food, beverage, and events at the Clinton Center showed families how to prepare the easy-to-make “Back to School Breakfast Wrap”. Following his demonstrations, families received a bag containing all of the shelf-stable ingredients, so they could make the same recipe at home.


We are grateful to our wonderful Clinton Center and volunteers from 3M, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Department of Health, City Year Little Rock, Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation, GoNoodle, the Pine Bluff Black Firefighters Association, Southwest Power Pool, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for their help in preparing Arkansas students for a successful start to the school year.