LOUISVILLE Ky. — David McCoy reunited with a few of his former students.

What You Need To Know

  • David McCoy won the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence

  • Every year, the award honors 25 teachers from across the country

  • McCoy teaches welding at Pleasure Ridge Park High School 

The Pleasure Ridge Park High School teacher started the welding program at the Jefferson County Public school in 2016. 

Now, he is the winner of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence

“This is definitely an honor and I’m really privileged to be that person,” McCoy said.  

The award recognizes 25 trade teachers annually. 

McCoy is just the second Kentucky teacher to receive the honor. 

The goal of the program is to spotlight high school trade programs and the positive effects influential teachers can have on their students. 

“For 22 years I’ve put young people, men and women, into trades. And you know, when they come to our school, it’s not about, it’s about work ethic more than it is about anything, but you know the trades are in the limelight right now,” McCoy said. He added, “So I mean you get an opportunity for people to say ‘Hey, that’s pretty awesome! We want to be a part of this!’ You know, so, it’s a pretty amazing thing.” 

One of the students McCoy has helped influence is Chase Kessel. He is now a member of the Local 502 and union pipefitter. 

“He’s taught me many things, and he’s taught me my most important, which is great work ethic and the way his program is, he has so many doors open that you can pick and choose what you want to do,” Kessel told Spectrum News 1.

McCoy won $50,000, which will go into helping the program expand. 

“Whatever we can do to make our program more efficient, and when I say more efficient, I mean student comes in, has the time to get ready, go to work, and have what they need to do that, that’s what we do,” McCoy said.  

All public high school skill teachers in the United States are eligible for the award. 

The application window typically opens in March.