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Chamber picks Vale auto instructor for top award

Drew Barnes receiving the High School Educator of the Year award from Chamber president Jessica Kulm at the Vale Chamber of Commerce banquet in June. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

VALE — For years, high school students were told that the key to success was a four-year degree, a dominating narrative that left a dearth of trade workers entering blue-collar fields. 

As the demand for trade skills increases, Vale High School’s automotive technology program continues to deliver under the leadership of Drew Barnes.

“Right now we can’t even keep up with the demand in the market,” Barnes said. “It’s a high demand, high wage job right out of school.”

Barnes took home the High School Educator of the Year award from the Vale Chamber of Commerce banquet in June. Barnes, who taught 57 students technical . . .