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Grants Pass teacher surprised with $50K from Harbor Freight 'Tools for Schools' competition

Welding teacher Jacob Leair won a second-place prize for Teaching Excellence in the national competition.

Posted: Oct 24, 2019 11:42 AM
Updated: Oct 26, 2019 3:16 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — One teacher at Grants Pass High School was surprised this morning with a whopping $50,000 prize for his school. The school held an assembly on Thursday morning in honor of welding teacher Jacob Leair, who won the Harbor Freight "Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence."

In addition to GPHS Principal Ryan Thompson, Dan Desmarais from Harbor Freight was on hand to present the trophy to Leair — a large rolling toolbox — in addition to the sizable check.

"The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence recognizes outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools," Harbor Freight said. "The school will receive $50,000 to support the winning skilled trades program."

Almost 750 teachers from 49 states applied to the competition this year. Only 50 teachers made it to the semifinals, and just 18 were surprised with the news that they had won.

Leair was one of 15 second-place winners, and the only winner in the state of Oregon.

"With a deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools aims to drive a greater understanding of and investment in skilled trades education, believing that access to quality skilled trades education gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs and a workforce our country needs," Harbor Freight says of the Tools for Schools program.

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