At a standing room-only presentation held just before its scheduled meeting Feb. 26, Huffman ISD recognized a large number of students and teachers for outstanding performance in a variety of disciplines.

A total of 66 students and teachers were honored. Superintendent Benny Soileau started the ceremony with recognition of the winners of the Huffman District Rodeo Art Show.
“The District Rodeo Art Show is one event in which most of the elementary students in grades pre-K through fifth participate. Every student receives a certificate and the ones whose work made it into the district show receive a ribbon. This year we will have three Best of Show, four Gold Medal, and one Special Merit Medal recipient’s artwork that will be on display inside the Hayloft Gallery at the NRG Center,” said Soileau.
Soileau explained that all the students recognized will receive entry tickets to the Houston Rodeo grounds and carnival. They are also eligible for scholarships for art instruction either from Glassell Junior School, the educational branch of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston or from the Western Art Academy. The scholarships will be announced during the Houston Rodeo Art Show award ceremony in March. Certificates and award mementos were presented as follows:
Best of Show award winners: Tatiana Shojaei (12), for “The Colors of Hardship;” Macy Tibbitts (8), for “Jack;” and Kennedy Fredieu (3), for “The Lazy Farm.”
Gold Medal award winners: Kelsee Carlile (12), for “When the Cowboy Rides Away;” Julia Osinska (11), for “Nostalgia;” Isabella McClelland (8), for “Mother and Child;” and Luke Locascio (1), for “Gold Digger.”
The Special Merit winner was Madison Barnes (12), for “United as Texans.”
Soileau asked the Business Professionals of America Coach Julie Gatlin to recognize the many state qualifiers to the State Leadership Conference in March.
“This year Hargrave High School hosted the Business Professionals of America Regional Leadership Conference Jan. 13. We had more than 300 students from 20 chapters come to compete,” she said.
Gatlin explained that Huffman had 29 students compete in 18 individual and eight team events. As a result, nine Hargrave High School students are advancing to the State Leadership Conference along with six alternates. In the team events, four teams advanced along with four alternate teams.
She said, “We will be taking 19 students to compete. I am excited to announce that we have our first state officer candidate, Kayla Moorhaj. I am very proud of all the students and their hard work.”
Soileau highlighted the accomplishments of the 46th Huffman Livestock Show held Jan. 24-27. He noted that the event raised $180,025 and recognized the show’s 21 Grand and Reserve Champions in all the judged categories, ranging from Grand Champion Food Project to the Grand Champions of various livestock and poultry categories.
In addition, Soileau called particular attention to Alexis Thomas and the Reserve/Grand Champions of the Unified Showmanship Show that provides participation for special education students.
“This is our third year of the Huffman United Showmanship Show. Alexis has given the opportunity for special education students in the life and applied skills classrooms from grades 3-12 to participate in the FFA show,” he said.
Soileau explained that Thomas has always been the key to the success of the program. At the practices she arranges for FFA students to work with these students. She works with the teams to help them understand how to meet the unique needs of the students.
“On the day of the show, as you looked around the arena, you saw smiles and tears during this special event. Each student showed a sheep or a goat and each student received a ribbon, a trophy or belt buckle. Students were even awarded with Reserve and Grand Champion from each division. Alexis is an amazing young woman who has made a difference with all of our students,” Soileau said.
He and Board President Ray Burt presented Thomas with a Special Appreciation Certificate and recognized the Unified Showmanship Show winners: Dylan Britton, Grand Champion Lamb; Arturo Forthon, Grand Champion Goat; Stephanie Bethune, Reserve Champion Lamb; and Peyton Young, Reserve Champion Goat.
In other business following the student recognitions the board approved:
The payment of wages to teachers who had been advised to remain at home during one of the two days that the schools were closed due to ice. The second day will be considered separately after the risk of more weather-related closings is no longer likely.
A package of funding requests related to preparing applications for Hurricane Harvey-related FEMA funds, including money for architectural services and engineering services.
A package of electronic equipment and services for the new elementary school, including security cameras ($62,195.58), interactive display devices (up to $226,000), wireless access points (up to $130,000), and a renewal of the district’s internet access contract with PS Lightwave. These monies are all included as part of the monies provided in the approved bond issue for the new elementary school.
The purchase of school and classroom furniture for both the new and existing elementary schools.
The next regularly scheduled board of trustees meeting will be Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Huffman ISD Administration Building, 24302 FM 2100.

Bruce Olson
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I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.