Oro Valley teacher wins thousands for school’s automotive program

Published: Oct. 5, 2023 at 11:00 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Teachers from pre-k to college celebrated World Teacher Day!

One teacher in Oro Valley has celebrated a little extra after winning thousands for his school’s automotive program.

Automotive students at Canyon Del Oro High School celebrated World Teacher Day, especially after their program received major funding.

Jeremy Tarbet is the school’s automotive instructor and one of the recipients of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. He won 50 thousand dollars to keep the auto program running for years.

Working with cars almost his entire life, Tarbet never thought a day like this would come.

“I’ve always been part of some kind of car community. Growing up, it was Hot Wheels, Hot Wheels turned into bigger cars,” Tarbet said.

“And then they gave me a call from here to be a long-term sub, I accepted and said yes, and that turned into a full-blown career.”

This isn’t Tarbet’s first try to win the award.

He applied several times for the Harbor Freight Tools award and was selected as a finalist for three years in a row, from 2019 to 2021. But this year, he was able to bring the big check home.

“I ended up in the top 50 for three years in a row,” he said. “Really, it’s to bring in that honor and success story to this program.”

The students love the program, too.

With the chance to get hands-on experience with cars from actual customers, all while earning certifications and credits from Pima Community College, students say they learned valuable skills to apply in and out of the shop.

“Going through this course, I have learned how to do that and Tarbet has helped me through. If I had a question, he was there,” said senior Jaydyn Sweney.

“It has helped me outside of school, because if I can do it outside of school, why should someone else do it.”

Along with the rest of Canyon del Oro, Tarbet’s students are proud of him for always being a helping hand and for always looking for opportunities to grow.

“He’s really just an amazing teacher,” said senior Santiago Garcia.

“I’ve been here all four years of high school and he’s always the class I look forward to when the new school year starts. I know he works very hard to get us funding, and I’m really happy to see him get the recognition he deserves.

Tarbet and his students worked together to determine how the funds would be allocated to support the program for this year and years to come.

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