Department of Neighborhoods

Press Release

Mayor's Back 2 School Fest Prepares Thousands of Students
for the New School Year
5th annual event presented by Shell Oil Company and Motiva Enterprises LLC, hosted by
University of Houston a one-stop for immunizations, school supplies and family resources

August 15, 2015 -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker welcomed thousands of students and their parents to the 5th Annual Mayor’s Back 2 School Fest, held in the Athletics/Alumni Center and Hofheinz Pavilion on the University of Houston Main Campus.  The mayor led an opening program and ribbon-cutting ceremony joined by presenting sponsor Shell Oil Company and Motiva Enterprises LLC, event host University of Houston, participating agencies, contributors and volunteers. 

Approximately 25,000 students and their parents took part in the fest designed to help economically disadvantaged Houston students grades K-5 prepare for the new school year.

“We are happy to have equipped thousands of children with the basic tools and supplies they need to be ready to learn when they walk into the classroom on the first day of school.  Equally important, we’ve also connected parents to social service agencies that can help them year-round,” said Mayor Parker.  “We all know that education is the key to success and that it’s important to get students on track at an early age.  To that end, it is our hope that their visit to this impressive Tier One UH campus inspires them to start thinking about a college education as an important part of their plans for the future.”

“The Back 2 School Fest demonstrates the power of community, education and business working together to improve outcomes in student achievement,” said Dr. Frazier K. Wilson, Manager, Workforce and Strategic Initiatives, Shell Oil Company.  “We are proud to again be a part of this partnership as it aligns with our commitment to the development of STEM careers and other disciplines that add to the economic strength and stability of our vibrant communities.”

The campus venue underlines the fest's core purpose of promoting education by introducing families to the prospect of a college education.

“The University of Houston is delighted to continue as a partner in this crucial community event and especially pleased to have it take place on our campus again,” said UH President Renu Khator.  “When these families visit UH, we hope they are not only helped to prepare for the current school year, but also encouraged to begin planning for a college education.  How gratifying it will be to have these young students earn their high school diplomas and return in a few years as Cougars.”

The fest offered students and parents an array of free health services, including immunizations, dental, vision and glucose screenings and referrals for hearing tests.  Interactive displays and demonstrations and booths informed families about crime prevention, hurricane preparedness and fire safety.  In addition, parents had the opportunity to visit with City, UH and community agency representatives to learn about services and resources available for their families throughout the year. 
Parents and students were treated to a variety of useful giveaways.  Among the most exciting giveaways were door prizes consisting of two-ticket vouchers for the Houston Cougars football team's first home game on September 5 at TDECU Stadium donated by the Houston Athletics Department and issued to 500 families.      

For the students, the highlight of the day was their last stop where they received backpacks filled with an assortment of school supplies, haircut vouchers, underwear and other amenities.   

Participation in the fest was by advance registration only.  Families who were not able to pre-register to participate in the event are advised to call the 2-1-1 United Way Helpline for referrals to community agencies offering back-to-school supplies and resources.

The Mayor’s Back 2 School Fest is an initiative of the Department of Neighborhoods sponsored in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.  For more information call 832-393-0868. 
Fest Supporters

Presenting Sponsor:  Shell Oil Company and Motiva Enterprises LLP
Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries.  In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future.  Shell Oil Company is a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology and one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, gasoline and natural gas marketers and petrochemical manufacturers.

Event Host & Sponsor:  University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education.  UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships.  Located in the nation’s fourth largest city, UH serves more than 40,900 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.  For more information about UH, visit the university’s newsroom.

Participating Sponsors
Kroger, Undies for Everyone, FirstService Residential, Summit Dental Center, Your Logo, CenterPoint Energy, Comcast, Fiesta, Texas Barber Colleges & Hairstyling Schools, Walgreens and Jetco.

City of Houston Departments
311 Service Center, Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care, Administration & Regulatory Affairs; Department of Health and Human Services; Houston Fire Department; Houston Parks & Recreation Department; Houston Police Department; Houston Public Library, Municipal Courts Department; Office of Emergency Management; Public Works and Engineering Department; and Solid Waste Management Department.