Mt. Vernon student earns $100,000 scholarship through Michelin

MT. VERNON, Ill. (Jan. 23, 2020) — A Mt. Vernon Township High School student got a big boost in financial assistance for college thanks to a single penny.

Max Zinzilieta, a senior at MVTHS and a dual credit student in both the Rend Lake College Entrepreneurship program and Jefferson County CEO program, earned a $100,000 scholarship through Michelin USA for using a penny to check the tread depth of his tires.

Zinzilieta ScholarshipMax Zinzilieta reacts to the news that he won a $100,000 scholarship from Michelin USA. (Submitted Photo)

The scholarship is part of Michelin’s #PennyForAFreeRide scholarship sweepstakes, which was developed to help remind young drivers to practice safe driving habits and help them pursue their educational dreams. Teen drivers were able to enter the sweepstakes by checking their car’s tire pressure or tread depth and sharing it on social media. Zinzilieta was randomly selected out of thousands of entrants from the United States.

"On behalf of everyone at Rend Lake College, fellow RLC Entrepreneurship students, and all stakeholders of the Jefferson County CEO Program, we congratulate Maxwell on this tremendous achievement that is so well deserved. Maxwell's drive and determination that he shows on a daily basis will lead to countless stories of success in his life. His future is extremely bright," said Corey Phillips, RLC Director of Entrepreneurship/Jefferson County CEO Facilitator.

Zinzilieta is also active in the Future Business Leaders of America and plays soccer and tennis. He said he plans on attending Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville next fall.

“This scholarship will help me focus on pursuing my education at a four-year college without taking on debt,” Zinzilieta told Michelin. “I plan to study computer science and linguistics ― two areas I’m passionate about.”

Watch Zinzilieta's reaction

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