A Cold Hollow Career Center teacher has been recognized as one of the country’s best skilled educators in trade. Baxter Weed was awarded Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which recognizes 18 skilled trades teachers around the country.
He was greeted with a $50,000 surprise check in a giant tool box from Harbor Freight, in front of his class on Thursday.
“To really put back into these programs, to reinvest in the kids, as well as the teachers,” said Michael Levin, Senior District Manager for Harbor Freight.
Weed, chosen from nearly 750 applicants teaches students from Richford and Enosburg Falls high schools.
“Maintenance, oil changes, tires, stuff they would need to know to go into a dealership or garage and be able to work the first day,” Weed said.
The idea for the contest began, as the company’s owner says he struggled in high school, but bonded with his trades teacher. Harbor Freight said Weed makes that same connection with his students and sees this as an opportunity to give back.
“No matter where they fit from a grades perspective,” Levin said. “When they walked into this class they were all the same.”
” I wanr them to feel like they’re part of something,” Weed said. “I just want them to be comfortable, have some fun, and learn something along the way.”
With more students being steered toward college these days – which isn’t for everyone, trade programs are another option for some, and are essential to the workforce.
“A lot of schools are continuing to cut back on programs like this,” Levin said. “Our community really needs these programs for students who don’t want to go off to college or students who just want to go off into the trade.”
Weed said he hopes to improve the program so students can succeed in the trades for years to come. Harbor Freight Tools gave out more than 1 million dollars Friday to trade schools around the country.