An Oil City man is getting national recognition for teaching excellence.

Travis Crate is one of 25 public high school skilled trade teachers across the country to be a winner of the 2023 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools prize for teaching excellence.

Crate has been a welding instructor at Venango Welding Technology Center for the last 20 years. He said he was a semi-finalist previously and this year was the charm.

The prize, now in its seventh year, was created to recognize high school skilled trade teachers — a group of educators who are frequently overlooked and underappreciated.

“It’s pretty awesome. The support of the community, the support of my students (it’s on Facebook) and parents thanking me for what I taught my students or their children. Parents that tell me I saved their children,” said Crate.

Crate won $15,000 for himself with $35,000 going towards his school’s program. He added the money would be used for improving machinery within the program, including a new CNC plasma cutter.