Agriculture science center renamed for educator

Posted Tuesday, Dec. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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For the first 10 years it was open, the facility had a plain moniker that adequately described the building’s purpose. Now this state-of-the-art building in Justin at the Northwest school district’s central site has a name that really embodies the essence of agricultural science.

Northwest district officials Nov. 17 hosted an official renaming ceremony to recognize the new title of what was formerly called the NISD Agricultural Science Center. It’s now known as the NISD Kelly W. Box Agricultural Science Center. It first opened in 2003.

It’s been re-named for Box, a long-time Northwest High School agricultural science teacher and Justin community leader who died in 2012. Box, who joined the district in 1982, owned and operated along with wife Sallye Box the Morris-Box Ranch LLC in the community of Drop, near Justin. There they raised registered Red Angus cattle. He later became president of the Texas Red Angus Association.

Tony Neely, Northwest’s director of career and technical education, oversees the district’s FFA programs, which primarily use the newly named agricultural science center. Neely credits Box with helping advance the cause of not just ag science, but education in general.

“Mr. Box, while leading the charge for many years, not of words but of deeds, is a prime example of the strong support that our FFA, CTE and other NISD programs enjoy,” Neely said.

Box served as president of Northwest High’s Future Farmers of America alumni association for 25 years and organized the Northwest FFA booster club. He was a founding director of the Northwest ISD Education Foundation and led an attendance boundary committee that redrew the boundaries of all elementary schools in 2001. For his efforts, Box was named the Outstanding Career and Technology Supporter by the Texas Education Agency.

The Box center is providing students in ag science classes or FFA with a supervised occupational experience program that entails animal projects supervised by their ag teacher, Neely said. This supervised experience consists of purchasing and caring for the animals. Students must also do the marketing and maintain accurate financial records for an animal project. Most of the animals are shown in livestock shows at the local or state level, Neely said.

“Animals must be fed morning and evening, so through the course of the year, students learn the importance of responsibility and commitment,” Neely said.

The Box center has several new innovations. A new course called veterinary medical applications lets ag science students earn an industry-recognized certification as a Level I veterinary medical assistant, Neely said. “The ag center serves as a perfect learning environment for some of these classes,” he said.

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