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Nov. 30, 2022

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Evergreen High teacher among Washington educators named finalist for Harbor Freight prize

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LOS ANGELES — Fifty public high school skilled trades teachers were named as finalists July 2 for Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

“We deeply appreciate the work skilled trades teachers do to prepare and inspire our next generation of tradespeople,” said Eric Smidt, founder of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, in a press release. “Their work is critical, because while our country’s need for building and repairs is growing, our skilled trades workforce is shrinking. High quality skilled trades teachers offer their students a pathway not just to a good job, but also to a meaningful career and a good life.”

Three Washington high school skilled trades teachers have been named among the 50 finalists for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

The three finalists from Washington are:

  • Bill Culver, a construction & carpentry teacher at Evergreen High School in Vancouver.
  • Cory Torppa, a construction & manufacturing teacher at Kalama High School in Kalama.
  • Doug Merrill, an advanced manufacturing teacher at Wenatchee High School in Wenatchee.

The release states that this year a record 768 applications were received from 50 states. The 20 winners will be announced in October to be awarded a total of $1.25 million in cash prizes.

The five grand prize winners will each receive $100,000, with $70,000 going to their public high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the skilled trades teacher behind the winning program. The 15 additional winners will each be awarded $50,000, with $35,000 going to their public high school program and $15,000 to the teacher. Winners whose school, district and/or state policy prohibits receipt of the individual portion of prize award were eligible to apply on behalf of their school’s skilled trades program. If they win, the entire share of the prize will be awarded to the school.

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