Clinic celebration

Marion School District students and staff joined with community members Friday at the Marion School-Based Health Clinic to celebrate the East Arkansas Family Health Center for its 50 years of service to the community.

EAFHC is celebrating its anniversary this year by visiting each of its 12 sites, one per month. Because February is School-Based Health Center Awareness Month, EAFHC visited the Marion school clinic, located inside Marion High School.

Since 2018, the Marion School District has partnered with the EAFHC to operate its School-Based Health Clinic. The clinic offers almost every service imaginable to students and staff and is one of only a handful of school districts in Arkansas to provide a health care clinic like this on campus.

The clinic can do bloodwork, labs, preventive care, and almost everything except X-rays, which are referred elsewhere. The clinic also does physicals for Marion athletes and offers mental health therapy for students and staff. Any student can get treatment at the clinic by getting a signed consent form from their parent.

Speakers at Friday’s celebration included Tawana Bailey, EAFHC director of development; Susan Ward-Jones, CEO of EAFHC; Julie Coveny, the district’s director of federal programs and representative of Marion Bright Futures; Dr. Glen Fenter, Marion superintendent; James Scott, MHS principal; Harriet Morrow, MHS school nurse; Erica Dent, the daughter of Jana Blackford, who the clinic is named in memory of; Sonya Lampley, who works at the clinic.

“We’re proud to tell people that we have the best school-based health clinic in Arkansas,” said Dr. Fenter. “Thousands of our students have received health care through this service. This is something that all schools should have, and hundreds of schools in our state wish they had something like this.”

Fenter also noted that the mental health work being done at the clinic has become the foundation for an $8.8 million grant awarded to AFMC, an Arkansas-based health organization, to implement mental health support for schools across the state.

James Scott, Marion High School principal, credited the clinic for improving educational outcomes at the school.

“The school-based health clinic has really helped us foster a culture of wellness and preventive care,” he said, noting that the easy accessibility of the clinic reduces school absences, since students don’t have to leave campus to get health care. “But most of the comments I hear from students are about the clinic staff. The staff members at the clinic really care about students. They listen to them, and always show amazing compassion. It’s a wonderful thing to have in our school.”

The Marion School District is an innovative and growing district committed to helping every student find their unique path to success in school and in life. With more than 150 years of experience serving families in Crittenden County, the district offers a high school, a junior high, a seventh grade school, and three award-winning magnet schools. For enrollment information, including information on school choice, visit or call 870-739-5100.