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Springfield High teacher receives $50,000.00 grant for program

Springfield, OR (Oct. 6, 2022) – In a surprise presentation, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools awarded Springfield High School’s auto and diesel technology teacher Mark Simmons a $50,000.00 check for his teaching excellence.

“I didn’t have any idea this was happening,” Simmons said after the presentation. “It was a total surprise.”

Simmons, who has been teaching auto technology at Springfield High School for more than two decades, is one of only 20 high school teachers nationwide and the only teacher selected in Oregon. 768 teachers applied for the grants this year.

“He tells jokes in class and stuff, but he really knows how to teach us,” Andrew Sexton said. “This is one of the best auto tech programs anywhere.”

Andrew is now a senior and plans to attend Lane Community College and study to become an auto technician.

The students do the work on the cars and research the parts on the computer. They have to price out the costs and create work orders.

Simmons says that career technical education teachers have to wear many hats.

"I am not just a teacher to my students; I serve as a financial and mental health counselor, a career counselor, a coach, a cheerleader, and many times a surrogate parent,” Simmons said.

Students who started the program as freshmen and are now seniors say that Simmons is always working to teach them and improve the program.

“I’ve always been an adrenaline junky,” Simmons said. “I love what I do.”