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July 25, 2014

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Gift of new car shifts fortunes of popular math teacher down on his luck

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Steve Marcus

Math teacher Perryn Hale waves from his new car on the final day of Teacher Appreciation Week at Roy Martin Middle School Friday, May 9, 2014. Appreciation Financial, an insurance and financial services company, and Findlay Chevrolet teamed up to give a fully-loaded 2014 Chevrolet Sonic RS Turbo to Hale. Reuben Banks, Findlay community relations manager, is at right.

Math Teacher Surprised With New Car

Clark County School Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, left, gets a hug from math teacher Perryn Hale on the final day of Teacher Appreciation Week at Roy Martin Middle School Friday, May 9, 2014. Appreciation Financial, an insurance and financial services company, and Findlay Chevrolet teamed up to give a fully-loaded 2014 Chevrolet Sonic RS Turbo to Hale. Launch slideshow »

A drunken driver crashed into him and crushed his body, but he didn’t stop coming to school.

He didn’t stop teaching algebra and geometry when his wife fell ill, and he had to sell her car to pay for her treatments.

He didn’t stop coaching basketball and football when his mother-in-law lost her hotel job of 24 years and moved into his house.

Despite his back and neck pain and lack of a car, Perryn Hale never wavered in his dedication to his students and players. The Roy Martin Middle School math teacher bummed rides from co-workers, rode the bus for two hours and limped around campus with a cane, but he never stopped teaching, coaching, mentoring.

That’s just the kind of teacher Hale is.

On Friday, Hale, 35, was presented with a brand-new car as part of the Clark County School District’s celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9. The Chevrolet Sonic, courtesy of Findlay Chevrolet and Appreciation Financial, will allow Hale to continue teaching and coaching his students.

“He’s had a rough year, a very rough year,” Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said before a crowd of cheering students. “But he was too stubborn to stay at home.”

After seeing the car on the school blacktop, Hale hugged his co-workers who helped him through this trying year. There was a secretary and science teacher who gave him rides to the central valley school. Other teachers helped him up the stairs and worried for his wife and two children.

Hale also went around shaking the hands of his students and basketball players who motivated him to keep working.

“It’s all about the kids,” Hale said later. “They can do amazing things if you just challenge them and push them.”

Rancho High School alumni James Horton, 18, and Xavier Taylor, 19, looked on as Hale thanked his supporters. They had much to thank Hale, too.

Hale inspired them to finish high school and go to college. This fall, Horton and Taylor will study mechanical engineering and play football at Weber State University.

“He was always there for us, no matter what,” Horton said. “We was like our second dad. He took care of us.”

“There’s nobody more deserving,” Taylor chimed in. “He made me the man I am today.”

After the flurry of TV cameras left, Hale stepped into his new Sonic. He turned the key, heard the engine come to life and smiled.

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