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ATC students putting plans for food truck in motion

ATC Principal Marcus Bourland shows off plans for the school's food truck
An idea borne out of the recent popularity of food trucks, paired with teaching students management skills, has become a focus of high school students attending the LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex in Denton ISD. Soon, a food truck built and operated by local teens may be pulling up in a neighborhood or office near you.

“The idea was borne out of a conversation with Chef [Tonya] Tivis as we were brainstorming deliberate ways to push our students to be creative and think differently,” said Marcus Bourland, ATC principal. “We were talking about ways to serve more students, and in such a popular program we are running out of space.”

When Mr. Bourland, who is in his first year as the campus’ leader, shared the idea with staff, it seemed to take on a life of its own. What began as a single purpose soon became a school-wide project through the collaborative planning efforts and immediate buy-in of everyone on campus.

“We have an award-winning welding program, and our instructor offered to help with the assembly,” Mr. Bourland said. “Then, automotive wanted to spice things up by making it look like a hot rod. We hope to create a show piece that will highlight our student’s talents.”

Ultimately, architectural and engineering students began meeting to start preliminary design work on the mobile kitchen. The graphic design department is formulating ideas for advertising including a “wrap” for the exterior. They will work to craft a marketing plan with strategies to put the ATC and its programs on display in the community.

The Denton ISD Transportation Department invited Mr. Bourland and Russ Keith, automotive teacher, to the district’s bus barn and they inspected and selected a retired school bus to begin the project.

Currently, Mr. Bourland and staff are seeking donations and assistance from the community and industry professionals to fund and outfit the vehicle.
“We have the plan and we have the labor – all we lack are supplies and funding to bring the project to life,” said Mr. Bourland.

The LaGrone ATC’s purpose is to provide high school juniors and seniors with professional training and ultimately help students earn certifications or licensures in one or more of the campus’ core areas.

Those interested in providing donations or other forms of support for the ATC’s student-run food truck can contact Mr. Bourland by phone at 940-369-4850 or via email at