The gold-rated Huckabay ISD has no shortage of good things happening including a new ag complex.


The Stephenville Chamber of Commerce celebrated the new Huckabay FFA Agricultural Complex with a groundbreaking ceremony in May. PHOTO COURTESY STEPHENVILLE COC

By SARA VANDEN BERGE


Exciting things are happening at Huckabay ISD.


A $1.7 million agricultural complex that will be used by FFA students is expected to be complete in September.

I spoke with Superintendent Troy Roberts on Monday and he told me that the ag complex will house two 7,500-square foot facilities including an animal barn with 40 pens and a practice show ring.


“The other building is a replacement for our manufacturing facility where students will learn welding and woodworking,” Roberts said. “We have formed a partnership with Ranger College to train students in manufacturing. We have CNC machines, a manual lathe and a manual Bridgeport. Students that know how to run those machines can get a job anywhere in the manufacturing industry.

A CNC machine.

“We have 39 CTE (career and technology education) courses for our kids and that’s a pretty good number for a school our size. We are now actively seeking internships for many of our students.”


The focus on CTE courses is important at Huckabay ISD for two reasons, Roberts said.


“College isn’t in the cards for every student and they need to be employable as soon as they graduate,” he said. “CTE courses prepare students with skills they need to enter the workforce.

“The courses are also helpful to students who plan to go to college because it gives them a trade that allows them to support themselves while they go to school.”


Huckabay ISD ended the past school year with 281 students, a big jump from the 207 enrolled in the district five years ago when Roberts became superintendent.


And while he is proud of the district’s growth, it’s not his main focus.

“Our small size not only makes us unique, but it helps us take care of our kids and that’s important,” he said. “We are a quality, not quantity type of school district.”


Huckabay ISD is also a gold rated district on the U.S. News and World Report's latest evaluation.


“We have been silver in the past,” Roberts said. “Only Stephenville - and not by much - is ranked higher than us in the greater Erath County area.”


And as excitement over the new ag complex builds, there is other exciting things happening on campus.

A new cafeteria and gymnasium were completed last year and new baseball and softball fields are currently under construction with an expected fall completion.


Huckabay ISD is continuing its partnership with Tarleton State University in a program that provides the district with resident teachers who work in the classroom all year long.


“We had 10 resident teachers last year and we will have 10 again this year,” Roberts said.


Partnerships like that are what allows Huckabay ISD to keep class sizes small – with 16 to 17 students per class.

The district offers grades pre-K through 12th and several are already full for the 2021-22 school year.


“We know we have to prepare our students to enrich our community and we know the quality of education they receive will directly impact the area we live in,” Roberts said. “We want our students to live in the Huckabay area or come back once they have been to college or a trade school.


“Our philosophy has always been to focus on our students. We don't believe their geographical location should limit their education.”