Madisonville North Hopkins teacher named winner of $50K national teaching prize

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 12:47 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 5:23 PM CDT
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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WFIE) - A Madisonville North Hopkins High School teacher got a big surprise Thursday.

Brian Welch, who teaches agricultural mechanics, was one of just 18 winners of the 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

Welch and Madisonville North Hopkins High School were presented with a $50,000 check at a surprise event.

“I got randomly pulled from my class, and those who know me know I hate getting pulled from my class,” Welch said.

Officials say the school’s skilled trades program will receive $35,000 and Welch will receive $15,000.

“I feel at this point we’ve been able to move mountains with mustard seeds,” Welch said. “So, now that we’ve got that initial burden of the finances away, I’m super excited for what we can do.”

More than 700 people applied for the grant from 49 states, according to the press release. School representatives say the field was narrowed down to 61 finalists in July.

In total, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is awarding $1 million in prizes to 18 skilled trades teachers nationwide.

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