Career Education Center instructor surprised with HEB Excellence in Education Award

WICHITA FALLS - A WFISD teacher, known for imparting life lessons and skills, is receiving more praise for his passion and knowledge.

Career Education Instructor Gary Cunningham got quite the surprise Tuesday.  

He's has been educating the future for nearly 30 years. And for his work and passion as an educator, he was awarded a $1,000 check and the honor of receiving an HEB Excellence in Education award.

It was a surprise to Cunningham, but not to someone who's known him almost as long as he's been teaching.

"People gravitate to him," said Shelly Cunningham, Gary's wife. "He has a gift for dealing with kids for making him love what they do."

And one of the reasons why students at the CEC say Cunningham is receiving the recognition he deserves, is because he's given them the creative spark.

"He likes to come out here and show us things we don't know and just off the wall things like that," said one of Cunningham's welding students.

"That man has basically set it up to where i can go out in the world and make a difference as well. And not just be the kid flipping burgers," pointed out another student.
Understandably, Cunningham is taken back by all this attention.

Anytime you win an award, you're..I hate to say embarrassed; but you're like: "I don't know if  I deserve this."

This isn't this first time Cunningham has been recognized for his work. In years past, he was named WFISD Teacher of the Year as well as Region 9 Secondary Teacher of the Year.

He and his wife are both teachers, with Gary receiving more of the attention over the last few years. However, Mrs. Cunningham says she's not the least bit envious.

"No. Not at all. Like I said, he's got a gift. It's really cool to see somebody who has really dedicated his life to this process and to kids."

A lifetime of knowledge, being passed on to the next generation. 

Gary Cunningham says he will use his $1,000 in prize money to add on to his barn.

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