The board also recognized STEM Academy students with the highest number of community outreach hours.

The Lufkin ISD Board of Trustees recognized Cohort No. 6 of the STEM Academy during Thursday’s board meeting at the high school.

The STEM Academy is a partnership and cohort program between Lufkin High School and Stephen F. Austin State University aimed at enriching the high school experience for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics college study and careers.

“It’s time to recognize Cohort No. 6, class of 2023,” said Suzy Jungmann, STEM coordinator. “Each of you had to go through an application, an essay and an interview to be admitted into this program. Congratulations on achieving this distinction.”

The board also recognized STEM Academy students with the highest number of community outreach hours. Last year, the total number of hours was more than 2,650.

“One of my favorite things about STEM, personally, is seeing the STEM students out working, volunteering and making this a better place to live,” board member Kristi Gay said. “It has shown each individual student what it’s like to look outside yourself, give back to others and help make the community a really wonderful place to be a part of.”

Superintendent Lynn Torres spoke about updates to the bond project and campus security. The bond project is operating on time, she said.

Langston Construction met with bidders for subcontractors for the baseball and softball fields Thursday morning, and after the board approves a guaranteed maximum price, then groundbreaking can be scheduled.

A guaranteed maximum price for the middle school should be set sometime in November, and groundbreaking would be scheduled before Christmas break, Torres said.

The two new officers who were recently hired are in the process of completing training, Torres said.

The recently purchased vape sensors that detect tobacco and THC smoke and notify principals will be installed on campus shortly. Torres thanked The Coalition for providing funds for one-third of the cost of the sensors.

“I think that will then make Lufkin High School a vape-free zone and will be a significant move to address a crisis that we’re experiencing in the nation,” Torres said.

The board also approved three purchases of more than $50,000 — three buses from Thomas Bus Gulf Coast totaling $311,075, the renewal of a contract with Pentagon Communications for $55,000 and the renewal of a contract with SFA for the STEM Academy for $120,000.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.