A Bucks County Technical High School teacher was surprised with a $50,000 check from Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Thursday morning, of which he has $15,000 for personal use.
Jeff Cesari, a power equipment technology teacher at the high school in Fairless Hills, received his award surrounded by students and faculty. He is one of eighteen winners from across the country to earn the 2018 Prize for Teaching Excellence out of 550 applicants.
The announcement appropriately came towards the end of American Education Week, a time to recognize the people who teach young adults and children the skills and values necessary to be a productive citizen.
Harbor Freight representative Lauren Gomez led the ceremony and duly recognized Cesari for his accomplishment.
“One of the coolest things and why this is important is we believe skilled trade teachers are heroes,” Gomez said. “They deserve to be recognized and supported. We believe you provide really great jobs for our students and the community we need in America.”
The competition received entries from 49 states, and Cesari was the only winner in Pennsylvania. Of the total prize money, $35,000 will go to the school to use at its discretion, while the remaining amount goes straight to Cesari himself.
Cesari told WBCB he is looking forward to having new equipment to use in class, but didn’t have anything extravagant planned for himself.
“The program for sure, we’ll upgrade a lot of stuff that I need to do,” “As far as the check on my side of it, it’s nice. I hate to say it, but it will probably pay some bills. Me and my wife will go do something, a little vacation I think.”
Harbor Freight will award a total of more than $1 million in prizes to teachers, with three first place winners receiving $100,000 to split between themselves and their schools. Cesari earned his spot as a second place winner alongside 14 other teachers who will receive the same award.
The competition was started by Harbor Freight CEO Eric Smidt this year, though Harbor Freight Tools for Schools has been donating millions of dollars worth of equipment since 2013.
WBCB’s Eli Kurtz contributed to this post.