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School for children of showmen goes with the carnival

Students get to learn while on the road with their families.

HOUSTON — There are so many unique things that make the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo what it is, and one of those is family.

And while many of us get to experience the rodeo and the carnival while it's in town there are families who put on the show and move to the next city.

But behind the scenes, family life is as close to normal as possible, even when traveling, thanks to a school that goes where the carnival goes.

“Cammack Christian Academy," teacher Kate Bishop said.

She teaches students in grades K-5.

Carnival company Ray Cammack Shows (RCS), which travels to seven fairs from about February to November, started the school in 2015.

It gives families of showmen, as they're known, the ability to stay together. Something father Sam Brooks is grateful for because previously it was tough to see his family.

"Being together was the hardest one because my wife used to stay at home with the kids and then come out on weekends," Brooks said.

RCS has been a family-owned company for 63 years. Many families whose kids attend the school are multi-generational in the business.

“Fourth generation show kids. So they, their grandparents, and some great-grandparents were in the business, and they've grown up in it," Bishop said.

The school uses Arizona and Texas educational standards, and Bishop, who used to be a traditional middle school teacher, said she loves the opportunity to be able to take individual approaches with her 12 students.

"One of the really neat things is I can really get in-depth with certain subjects and teach them a certain concept," Bishop said.

For students like fifth-grader Walker Miller, who've also done traditional school, said in the classroom they're learning and being challenged.

“Harder ... like the same stuff as my old school," Walker said.

The students also get to go on field trips in the cities they visit like San Diego and Phoenix and experience all the big sights in different cities.

Sam's son Jett said his favorite place he's gone in Houston is an easy choice.

"NASA, yeah, that's the first thing that comes to mind: NASA," he said.

The school also provides something beyond the classroom, the opportunity for these families to be together.

“I go to work, drop them off at school, it's the same place," Brooks said.

Making sure they don't miss any of life's little moments.

“You want to be able to spend time with your family and be all together," Bishop said.

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