Thirty-two Huffman Middle School Students earned first, second or third in their UIL competitions. Superintendent Dr. Benny Soileau, right, and Board President Ray Burt, left, were honored to recognize them. Photo by Bruce Olson
As they did in February, Huffman ISD board members continued recognizing outstanding students in large numbers at the March 26 board meeting. It was a standing-room-only crowd for the second month in a row as Superintendent Dr. Benny Soileau conducted a series of presentations in which 63 students and 19 teachers were honored for excelling in a total of 22 educational and academic disciplines. When added to the 66 honored in February, the district has recently honored 129 students and supporting staff for competitive accomplishment in everything from rodeo and mathematics to writing and science. Soileau noted the magnitude of these achievements when he opened the ceremony.
“It’s always fun when we have the kids come and we get to recognize them for several activities,” said Soileau. 
Soileau started by recognizing 16 teachers, sponsors and coaches for the various University Interscholastic League (UIL) middle-school competitions. He then awarded certificates to 32 students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Each of the students honored placed first, second or third in one or more UIL categories among 18 disciplines.
Following those presentations, Camaryn Coogler and Grace Foster were recognized as earning Grand Champion and Reserve Champion, respectively, for their photographs at the Huffman Livestock Show Photography competition.   
A total of 14 Huffman students were recognized for qualifying for the state competition at the regional FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) contest held in Galveston. They will be competing at the state tournament in Dallas this month.
Six TAFE (Texas Association of Future Educators) state qualifiers from Huffman won achievement recognition ribbons for their performance at the state tournament in February.
Nine Hargrave High School students were recognized for representing Huffman at the Life Smarts state competition in Austin in March. Life Smarts is a program of the National Consumers League and the competitors focus on five key topic areas: consumer rights and responsibilities, the environment, health and safety, personal finance, and technology. Hargrave placed second in the overall competition, losing by one question to last year’s state champions.
When the presentations were over, the crowd of proud parents, grandparents, friends and staff gave all of the students a resounding round of applause.
In other business, the board received an explanatory briefing from Dr. Joel Nolte, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, on the Instructional Training Plan developed in preparation of the new Falcon Ridge Elementary School. He explained that staff and teachers have made a total of four trips to a similar new elementary school and that each teacher currently scheduled to teach at Falcon Ridge has participated in at least one of those trips. 
“These visits, paired with our ongoing efforts toward implementing the Falcon Learning Framework, have increased our readiness to move into our new elementary,” Nolte said. His presentation included a calendar of planned coaching and training sessions between now and the fall of 2018.
A comprehensive update on the construction status of the new Falcon Ridge Elementary School was presented by Tom Trial, overall bond project administrator for the project. Trial presented a thorough set of photographs of the project as of March 26, taken both inside and outside of the structure, including photos taken from a drone that provided an aerial overview. Trial noted that, due to Harvey and the fluctuating weather conditions, the project was behind schedule.
“The target date is July 19th, but it is behind schedule,” said Trial. 
He said that he is optimistic the project will be completed on target, with hundreds of construction people on site on many days now that the weather has improved. The photographic presentation seemed to confirm that conclusion and there were no questions from the board.
The next regularly scheduled board of trustees meeting will be Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in the board room of the Huffman ISD Administration Building, 24302 FM 2100.
Bruce Olson
Author: Bruce OlsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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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.

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