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Casey Lunceford: 2021 Recipient of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence

Casey LuncefordRonan High School vocational agriculture teacher Casey Lunceford is among 18 educators across the nation who were selected as recipients of a 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

As part of the prize, Lunceford will be awarded $15,000 and his program will receive $35,000. He also received a Yellow U.S. General mechanics tool cart with a customized panel commemorating the award.

Lunceford is the first teacher from Montana to claim one of the Harbor Freight awards, which were first presented in 2017.

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Gianforte Recognizes Buffy Smith of Helena With Spirit of Montana Commendation

Buffy SmithDuring Computer Science Education Week, Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) recognized Buffy Smith of Helena for her dedication to educating Montana students and for encouraging more young people, particularly young women, to study computer science and other STEM fields.

An educator for 27 years, Buffy is breaking down barriers, paving the way for female and minority students to find their way into computer science. With her commitment to her students and her knowledge of computer science, Buffy has created an all-inclusive approach to the subject. She prioritizes encouraging students to work with others who have different views and thus enhance the outcome of a project.

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2019 NCWIT National AiC Educator Award Winner Buffy Smith

Buffy SmithNCWIT Aspirations in Computing is pleased to announce that Helena High School Computing Instructor Buffy Smith has been named the recipient of the 2019 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) National Educator Award!

Each year, the NCWIT AiC Educator Award publicly celebrates formal and informal educators who encourage high school women’s interest and participation in technology pursuits. To date, nearly 400 educators have been honored for demonstrating an exceptionally strong, consistent, and positive involvement in supporting female students in computer science.

Buffy Smith knows firsthand how challenging it can be for interested students to access computing education when they live in a highly rural state like Montana, because it’s an obstacle she’s faced throughout her career. Buffy first fell in love with computing in high school. A college programming class convinced her to turn this passion into a career, but her college only offered a minor in Computer Science, so she paired that minor with a major in English. After seven years teaching high school English, she was told she could switch to Computer Science if she took some additional summer training. She leapt at the chance, and since then, she has not stopped expanding her knowledge, teaching herself several programming languages and taking graduate classes on Oracle and Python. She has also learned to build robots, fly drones, and use 3D printing technology, because these are topics of particular interest to her students.

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