Hays High Principal David Pierce, right, was surprised on Friday with an H-E-B Excellence in Education award; he received $1,000 for himself and $2,500 for the high school. Joel Johnson, a seventh-grade English teacher at Chapa Middle School, also received a surprise award; she received $1,000 for herself and $1,000 for her school. Principal Lisa Walls helped put the sash on Johnson. State finalists will be invited to compete against other educators for the chance to win greater cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Overall statewide winners will be announced in May.