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Riverton High School teacher receives $50k national award for excellence

Posted at 11:31 AM, Oct 03, 2023

RIVERTON, Utah — Riverton High School automotive teacher Jay Hales was selected as a winner in the national "Teaching Excellence in Skilled Trades" on Tuesday and says he didn't expect any of the accolades.

Hales was a runner-up for this honor a couple of times prior to this year's win for mentoring thousands of students.

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools will award $50,000 to Hales, with Riverton High's skilled trades program receiving $35,000 and Hales receiving $15,000.

"I didn't plan on being selected, but I'm glad I was, " said Hale. "We can definitely make adjustments to our program."

He's been a teacher at Riverton High since 1999 and says the prize money will go towards upgrades to the program, including new equipment.

Hales will be taking his shop class down to Utah Valley University on Tuesday to learn about their program but many may choose a trade school.

He says the trip will help students determine, " if this is a path they'd like to choose."

With Hales as their teacher, they will have a great start toward reaching this goal.