Cumby ISD Breaks Ground On New High School

Cumby ISD officially broke ground Thursday night on the district’s new high school during a brief ceremony. The new campus is among several improvements being made to school facilities thanks to voter-approved bond funds as the school transitions toward being Cumby Collegiate High School.

Cumby ISD Superintendent Shelly Slaughter welcomed everyone to the ground breaking event, offered them bottles of water and cookies, then introduced CISD Board of Trustees President Jason Hudson, who is entering his 22nd year of service on the school board.

“Thank yall for being her tonight. It is a special day, history in the making. We appreciate yall sharing some of the son with us today,” Hudson told the small group gathered just behind the ball field where a youth league was making up a game.

Hudson noted the often repeated saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and noted that the groundbreaking ceremony and direction the school district is taking is an example of that. Many individuals helped see the goal come to fruition, and he offered thanks to all for their past and continued contributions to Cumby ISD, especially the taxpayers who are helping shoulder the financial burden a new structure and facilities improvements costs.

“We are appreciative to our supporters. It is an honor to serve our community and our school district, because we always want the best for kids because we owe that to them,” Hudson said.

He expressed appreciation to Cumby voters for approving two bond propositions on May 1, 2021, one for for a new high school and ag shop, and facilities improvements at the other campuses, and the other for a new track. That shows voters’ commitment to providing the best possible education for Cumby students, he noted.

The district had in the previous voting cycle, November 2020, proposed a bond that did not receive voter approval. Officials revised their plans, made additions and several changes after listening to public comments and doing additional research. That made the district especially appreciative when voters then on May 1, 2021, approved both bond proposals on the ballot by 61%. Seeing bond propositions in East Texas fail 3 to 1 on Saturday, May 7, 2022, made Cumby voters’ decision in May 2021 that much more appreciated by the school board and administrators, according to Hudson.

Cumby ISD Superintendent Shelly Slaughter

“We passed ours last year because of great people and great leaders,” Hudson noted.

The school board president also thanked Superintendent Slaughter for being such a strong advocate for kids and the community, for putting the time and effort in to explain and make the transition at Cumby to the P-Tech program and never giving up.

Hudson too thanked the individuals who have leant their experience and expertise to the facilities committee in identifying needs across the district and helping devise the plans for improvements over the past 6-7 years, which are projected to see the district through then next 40 years.

Cumby ISD Board of Trustees President Jason Hudson

He offered appreciation too to the Cumby ISD staff and families who continue to support the students to help ensure their successes, as well as those who along with their families who distributed and wore t-shirts, posted banners and information on social networks, helped share information about the bond and district’s plans with their neighbors and family members.

Hudson gestured to two bricks placed atop a table alongside cookies and drinks. He noted each is a piece of the school’s history, a brick that was part of the foundation the school district was built on. The first brick, he said dates back to the 1900s. The second brick dates back to the 1930s and was part of the old high school, torn down several years ago on the site where the high school gymnasium now sits.

Official ground breaking ceremony and turning of the dirt, signaling the start of construction of Cumby Collegiate High School by Cumby ISD’s Team of 8 – the school board and superintendent.

The district plans to incorporate those bricks and others from the district’s historic past to accent the interior of the new Cumby Collegiate High School. The goal is to restructure the school system and provide the facilities and resources to prepare students for their next stage in life after graduating from CHS, whether that phase be a career in the military, entering the work force, attending a trade school or a four-year university. The school will afford all Cumby ISD a quality education. Each high school students at CHS will have the opportunity to attain an associate’s degree or industry certification at no cost to the student through the restructured school programming.

The groundbreaking Thursday, May 12, 2022, is a dream come true. It’s another step in that process. Work now will begin to construct the new high school facility. Once completed, high school students would be housed in that building, the current high school will be refurbished for younger students and elementary will receive needed improvements as well.

Construction of the Cumby Collegiate High School is expected to take about a year, when Hudson said the district hopes to host a ribbon cutting celebrating the completion of a facility the district can be “proud of for a long time,” Hudson noted.

The school trustees and superintendent each grabbed a shovel, dug into the ground and ceremoniously turned the soil, marking the start of construction. Community members were then invited to attend the Cumby High School Academic and Athletic Awards program held in the nearby CHS Gym to honor 9-12th grade students’ accomplishments during the 2021-2022 school year. To commemorate the occasion, all in attendance were asked to gather for a group photo.

Those attending the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the Cumby Collegiate High School pose for a group photo to commemorate the occasion.

Author: Faith Huffman

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