Jacqueline Sit, News 9

AGRA, Oklahoma -- Despite what experts said about poor students simply not being able to compete with larger schools, the Agra Schools in Lincoln County have shattered stereotypes. In the rural school where over half of the population is low income, students are excelling.

The school has won the Title I Academic Achievement, which is given to school sites that excel in state-mandated testing as required by the No Child Left Behind initiative.

Just 30 years ago, the school was about to close.

"We were in danger of being closed down. We just didn't have the number of students to justify the money being spent and our academics were low," Richards said. "We offer a lot of academics that we didn't used to have."

Sue Chestnut has been around for over 30 years and she said she's watched the school grow.

"I think it's just less kids in the classroom. They have more one-on-one involvement with teachers," Chestnut said.

The small district of 425 students was honored with several bonuses from the state. This year, their elementary school received $41,500, and last year their high school was given $18,400.

In a surprise assembly inside the high school gym, Superintendent Bradley Richards made the announcement to hundreds of students and teachers.

"Some schools boast sports back-to-back state champs, we, however, believe our back-to-back 'wins' are more significant for the future of our children," Richards said.

The money will be used to expand their computer facility for their students.