Three public high school skilled trades teachers—a welding teacher from Georgia, a building trades teacher from Michigan and an industrial diesel mechanics teacher from Ohio—are the first-place winners of the 2018 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. They and 15 second-place winners will receive more than $1 million in prizes.
The first-place winners are Gary Bronson, an industrial diesel mechanics teacher at Laurel Oaks Career Campus in Wilmington, Ohio, Charles Kachmar, who teaches metals and welding at Maxwell High School of Technology in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Andrew J. Neumann, a building trades teacher at Bay Arenac Intermediate School District Career Center in Bay City, Michigan. They were each surprised in their classrooms today by representatives from Harbor Freight Tools for Schools with the news that they and their schools will receive $100,000— $70,000 for the high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the teacher.
Fifteen second-place winners across the country were also surprised with the news they will each receive $50,000, split between the individual teacher or team and their high school skilled trades program. In addition to the more than $1 million in first- and second-place prizes awarded by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, the company Harbor Freight Tools donated $34,000 to 34 semi-finalists.
“The creativity and hands-on projects that these teachers bring to their classrooms is an inspiration,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “This is education at its best, and we are humbled to honor these teachers and shine a light on excellence in skilled trades education.”
The prize was started in 2017 by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to recognize public high school skilled trades teachers and programs with a proven track record of dedication and performance. The prize is conducted and awarded by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, a program of The Smidt Foundation.
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