The kids, who it’s all about, dug right in when given the chance. Photo by Bruce Olson

It was a typically hot, humid and sweaty Texas summer morning June 20, but that did not stop about 100 people from attending a special Huffman ISD ceremony. The groundbreaking for Huffman’s new elementary school took place at the building site near the southwest corner of the intersection of FM 2100 and Wolf Road in an empty, dusty field just recently cleared of timber. Huffman school buses transported the attendees from a nearby church parking lot because cars and trucks were unable enter the site and park safely.
On hand to make the first ceremonial digs in the ground were five Huffman ISD board trustees along with Texas House Representative Briscoe Caine. The school’s construction contractors and many Huffman residents were also on hand, including a number of children who will attend the new school.
Promptly at 10 a.m., a man in a red-checkered work shirt stood at the speaker’s stand and said, “My name is Benny Soileau, the superintendent of Huffman ISD. Thank you for being here for this momentous occasion.”
He joked about the heat and laughed at the fact that everyone was trying to stay in the shade of the tent-covered seating area and the covered water and snack pavilion and for good reason. “We do have sweat rags,” he said in jest and then became serious.
Soileau introduced each of the five school board trustees who were able to attend the groundbreaking: Patrick Keith, Matt Dutton, Dr. Charles Bardwell, Robin Colbert and Ray Burt. Soileau introduced Caine, Texas state representative for District 128, and asked him if he would like to speak. Caine graciously declined, saying the people did not come out in the heat to hear a politician speak.
Soileau announced the principal of the new, yet-to-be-named school. Amy Turner, Copeland Elementary School’s current principal, will be there when the new school opens in the fall of 2018. She addressed the crowd.
“I am reminded of a quote: ‘Never be afraid of change.’ Huffman ISD is moving from good to great,” she said and thanked all the residents and parents in Huffman for their support.
Soileau closed the presentation with a few words to the crowd. “This has been an incredible journey. This project started with almost 50 community members who were invited to serve on a community advisory committee. After six meetings and more than 20 hours of discussion, it crafted a bond proposal that was overwhelmingly approved,” he said.
Soileau explained that in addition to the committee’s hard work, they had teachers and administrators travel all over the state to learn and gain ideas and input from other school districts about the building’s design and the plans for curriculum delivery.
“This is only the beginning for Huffman ISD. We have great things to come,” Soileau said.
Then it was time to break the ground. The honorable first digs were made simultaneously by the five trustees and Soileau. Following them were representatives of the three major contractors building the school and then volunteers on the community advisory committee who wanted to participate.
Finally someone in the crowd yelled out that the kids should have a go at it and Soileau said, “Let’s have the kiddos come forward; that’s what it’s all about.” And come forward they did, with their mothers in hand to be a part of the groundbreaking for the school they will attend.
When the formalities were over, most attendees took advantage of the cold water and tacos provided under a big shade cover before they boarded the buses and returned to their cars. They were hot and sweaty, but most of all, they were happy to have been a part of it all.

 

 

 

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Bruce Olson
Author: Bruce OlsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
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.