INA – Four area high school students recently won thousands of dollars in scholarships to Rend Lake College’s Automotive Technology Program in the fall.
The winners were seniors Cody Willis of Sesser and Sesser-Valier High School, Wade Williams of Benton and Benton Consolidated High School, Josh Westcott of Opdyke and Webber Township High School, and Richard Golden of McLeansboro and HCSHS.
Nearly 20 students competed for four scholarships, answering a series of 35 questions in the program’s annual contest. The questions were held to the Automotive Service Excellence standard. The students were grouped into four sections and the winner from each section was awarded a two-term tuition scholarship to earn an associate degree in applied science through the program – a value of just under $5,500 each.
“It was hard,” Golden said of the contest. “I’m going to take [the scholarship] and try it. School’s not really my thing. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll probably work in construction.”
If he completes the program, he will become the first in his family to walk across a college commencement stage. Perhaps he will find his niche with Nigel Thompson and Shannon Perkins in the RLC Automotive Tech program.
“The performances were consistent with previous contests we have held,” said Thompson, a professor of automotive technology at RLC and one of the contest administrators. “It is a good recruitment tool for the program and it also helps the students start their educational path here. I have to say I’ve really enjoyed watching the winners complete our program over the years and I will be looking forward to welcoming these four students in the fall. They all show great potential.”
All four winners said they will be cashing in their prizes, starting this fall.
In addition to the scholarships, they were awarded Snap-On tools donated by Snap-On representative Tom Riffey, including a logic probe tester, nut driver set and various Snap-On wrenches used in the automotive service industry. All contestants received hats donated by NAPA of Mt. Vernon and Bumper-to-Bumper of Benton.
Automotive Technology at RLC is offered as a two-year associate degree program and one-year occupational certificate program. Certificates are also offered in various areas of automotive technology, such as transmission and electrical.
The two-year program leading to an Associate in Applied Science Degree, trains with curriculum based on Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) standards designed to prepare the student for certification in the automotive industry. The program qualifies for Master Certification from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Upon completion, the student has the option to capstone into a participating four-year institution.
Those wanting to learn more about the Automotive Technology program at RLC can call 618-437-5321, Ext. 1784 or 1806, or visit the program on the web at www.rlc.edu/aca/as/.