HUCKABAY (May 27, 2016) – Teaching veteran Cindy Shipman said goodbye to her last class Thursday. She has been teaching at Huckabay High School for 28 years and was honored for her service with the Mirabeau B. Lamar Award of Excellence by the Masonic Lodge.
“It’s a very nice award,” Shipman said. “It was sweet of them to honor me that way.”
Before Shipman began teaching, she worked as a bank supervisor and trainer. She returned to college – Tarleton State University – planning to get a degree in social work. But after taking a few classes, she decided to major in history instead.
“You think you’re on the right path, and sometimes doors close and a new opportunity opens, and you think, ‘Oh I’m going to try that,'” Shipman said. “I guess it worked. I’m still here. It was a good decision.”
Shipman has taught every secondary history class at Huckabay – Texas history, world history, US history, government and economics – and has taught as young as fifth grade. Since Huckabay is a small school, Shipman has taught math and Spanish, as well.
“I taught seventh grade math one year,” Shipman said. “That was bad for those kids. I learned a lot of math. I learned a lot of Spanish from a lot of great kids who helped me along through that, too.”
Outside of the core curriculum, Shipman worked on the school yearbook and newsletter. She also worked for several years on different projects with her students, including a multi-year project creating a series of books cataloging local cemeteries.
“I like collaborating with the kids,” Shipman said. “I took them out to some cemeteries, and they cataloged all of the graves, and then we came back to the library and looked up all of the obituaries. Then, in their computer class, they typed it all and we edited it. We did about 10 cemeteries and published the books and created a scholarship through the school. I’m proud of that project.”
The best part of teaching for Shipman is “the long look back” and being able to see students who “could go either way” go on to make good life choices.
“You don’t know how it’s going to be,” Shipman recalled. “To see them make that decision and see what they become, it’s been the real blessing of working here at school.”
The past two years Shipman taught at the school part-time.
“I actually retired a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t sure I would like it,” Shipman said. “So, I kept working part-time. This time I’m really not going to come back to school. It’ll be sad for school to start and not come back.”
In her free time, Shipman loves to learn about history, especially her own family tree. She has traced all of her family lines back to her immigrant ancestors and even further.
“Some of them came from England, and I went to where they lived,” Shipman said. “That’s fun. Some of my ancestors were from the Azores. I’d really like to go to Azores.”
Shipman also enjoys reading and traveling with her husband, Tarleton professor Dr. Mark Shipman. They will travel to Scotland in August.
Shipman serves on several historical committees including the Board of Directors at the Stephenville Historical House Museum and the Erath County Historic Commission Board.
“I work on a couple of committees down there, and frankly a couple of committees work more than part time every week,” Shipman said. “I volunteer at the museum. I do all of their cataloging and archiving. I have plenty to do.”