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H-E-B grants $90,000 to Agriscience Magnet Program to enhance meat processing classes

Students enrolled in the Agriscience Magnet Program at Madison High School will soon enhance their knowledge of meat processing with specialty equipment purchased with a $90,000 grant from H-E-B.

The H-E-B Tournament of Champions Charitable Trust notified the magnet program in the North East Independent School District of the award that will help equip a major new addition to the program. The new addition is part of the $8.6 million upgrade to the AMP 20-acre property.

“It is our sincere hope that our support will help make your Meat Processing Facility a success,” wrote Winell Herron, a trustee with H-E-B’s trust.

The new Meat Processing Facility is part of the 60,000-square feet of classroom, meeting and laboratory space.  Funds from the $499.9 million bond referendum approved in 2015 is funding the construction of the processing facility.

“The generous grant from H-E-B will allow us to purchase equipment that our students will use to support their coursework through project-based learning,” said AMP Director Doak Stewart.

Stewart said that the equipment would be purchased and installed in time for the facility’s opening in January.

“We are so appreciative of H-E-B’s involvement in public education,” he said. “They have a commitment to produce a highly-skilled workforce.”

The AMP has nearly 600 students who have chosen to pursue career paths in agriscience, agriculture mechanics, animal science, environmental science, floriculture and plant science, and food processing.

In addition to instructional and meeting space, the magnet students have access to 65,000 square feet of livestock facilities that can hold up to 300 student projects. Also on site are facilities for AMP’s aquaculture program.

Students enrolled in the aquaculture program use three indoor 500-gallon aquariums and a 1,500-gallon aquatic system designed to breed, hatch and grow fish species.  Two ponds, about one-eighth of an acre each, are also used by the AMP students.

Several AMP courses offer students the opportunity to earn dual credit. Dual credit means that students who successfully complete dual credit courses earn college credit and can apply the credit to an associate’s degree; some dual credit may transfer to a college or university.

H-E-B previously awarded a grant to the district’s Career and Technical Education Center. The grant funded the purchase of diesel equipment for in the automotive program. For over 30 years, H-E-B’s trust has invested more than $100 million in educational and non-profit organizations that focus on the needs of children and families.