Gulfport teachers are semi-finalists in Harbor Freight Tools for Schools contest

After 557 total submissions for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, two skilled trade Gulfport High teachers are semi-finalists for a $100,000 prize that opens the door for huge projects for students.

The team of Robert Caylor and Scott Pfaff are one of 52 other semi-finalists up for $100,000 for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools 2018 prize for teaching excellence. $70,000 will go toward Gulfport High’s skilled trade program and $30,000 to the team behind the program. Physics teacher Scott Pfaff said, “I think it just shows the strength of the program we have and how it reflects against other schools in the country.”

Automotive service teacher Robert Caylor said, “We are the only team in the state. We are really excited about that.”

Both teachers entered the competition looking to showcase the talents of what their previous students have done like disabling anti-lock brakes on a car, creating skid marks to learn the physics behind it. “It’s not unusual for AP physics class to walk across the hall into the automotive shop,” said Pfaff.

Caylor said, “We come up with a problem and if it works in my class and his class, let’s get them out there and do it. Let’s work together.”

Winning the money means more opportunities for students at Gulfport High School. It opens the door for new projects which means less time in the classroom and more hands-on experience. “We are going to be restoring a 1970 Mustang. We have a 1969 Ford limousine that was donated to us. The kids will do all the work. I will just be their mentor to help them out,” said Caylor.

An apprenticeship is in the works for around 25 students to spend half the day at school for two years to work on these types of large projects with the prize money. “It will directly allow us to purchase more equipment and more supplies to do these unusual projects.”

“We want to make a classroom where there is no real classroom.”

Caylor and Pfaff will find out where they place in the competition on November 15th.

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