El Dorado Motors of McKinney officially presented the McKinney ISD FFA program with a new 2011 Chevrolet Silverado One-Ton HD Crew Cab truck on Tuesday, November 15 at the dealership in McKinney. District Superintendent Dr. J.D. Kennedy was on hand for the event along with other MISD officials, teachers and students. For all involved with McKinney FFA, the generous donation could not have come at a better time.
The prospect of transporting a host of students and animals to a livestock show is a bit more involved than, say, a field trip to the local park. The logistics of moving 30-50 farm animals — more, for some events — is a daunting task in and of itself. Throw aging trucks into the mix and the process can test the resolve of the most stoic among us.
With a steadily growing FFA program that includes students from all three MISD high schools as well as younger students, getting everyone where they need to be on show day has left McKinney agriculture teachers increasingly dependent on two twelve-year-old vehicles with over 200,000 miles of heavy duty service. When traveling in those well-used trucks to competitions as far away as San Antonio and Houston, these teachers face the very real possibility of finding themselves — and their livestock — stranded on the side of the road. And potential breakdowns are only part of the problem. With the growth of the program and the increased number of animals going to shows, multiple trips are usually necessary, which is costly in terms of fuel, time and vehicle attrition. Furthermore, in addition to the logistical challenges of hauling livestock, transporting mechanical and floriculture projects is an ongoing part of life in the department as well. So, with growing demands, and a small, aging motor pool, the need for a new truck was evident. However, with budgets tight, the chances of replenishing the FFA motor pool anytime soon seemed slim.
Enter El Dorado Motors of McKinney. When McKinney ISD Partners in Education Director Nancy Cowlishaw presented the need, El Dorado General Manager Mark Welch didn’t hesitate to help. Having faced tough budget decisions of his own in recent years, he understands the challenge of working within tight budget constraints, and the 2011 One-Ton Chevy Silverado his dealership donated is everything that the McKinney FFA could have hoped for. Equipped with a 6.6 liter Duramax diesel engine, an Allison transmission and a fifth-wheel trailer hitch, the vehicle can handle the rigors of an FFA show season as well as the day-to-day demands of the Agriculture Department.
McKinney High School FFA advisor Justin Lacy reflects the gratitude of the entire department. “The partnership formed between El Dorado Motors and McKinney ISD exemplifies support for agriculture education, the FFA program and agriculture in McKinney,” he says. “This sponsorship will have a positive impact on all students and their success in agricultural science programs at McKinney ISD.” And, the generosity of El Dorado Motors of McKinney means Lacy and his fellow agriculture teachers have one less thing to worry about.
And that’s good because looming on the horizon is the county show — and about 100 McKinney FFA students with animals waiting for a ride.
Pictured above: (Front row, from left) MISD Superintendent Dr. J.D. Kennedy, MISD Chief Financial Officer Steve Fortenberry, Partners in Education Director Nancy Cowlishaw, El Dorado General Manager Mark Welch, El Dorado Service Director Mark Stehr, MISD Coordinator of Career Tech Education Keva Boughner, MHS Agriculture teacher Rick Lemons, MNHS Agriculture teacher Jennifer Gildon, MHS Agriculture teacher Justin Lacy and MBHS Agriculture teacher Sharron Bigham; (Back row, from left) McKinney FFA students Ashley Caldwell, Madison Duane, Sierra Francis, Hunter Inge, Keli Jo Cummings and Mara Vernier.