Grainger Scholarship Helps Welding, HVAC Students Move Forward

July 26, 2012: Four students in Columbus Technical College’s School of Professional & Technical Services are greatly benefiting from the generosity of  a major industrial supply company. The Grainger Foundation provides a total $7500 in scholarship funds each year for qualified students enrolled in the HVAC, Automotive, and/or Welding programs. The funds are managed through the Columbus Technical College Foundation; four students are awarded $625 each semester. Students seeking the financial helping hand from Grainger must submit an application that includes a 300 word essay, be in good academic standing, and provide at least one instructor recommendation.

This term, two students from the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) programs and two from the welding program were declared the big winners.

In his application, HVAC student Quincy Jenkins wrote about growing up without a father but how his grandfather stepped into that role. His top priority is being a good father to his two boys and a husband his wife-to-be can be proud of.  This former soldier fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom and after getting out of the service, he started spending more time with his grandfather and found his life’s career calling.

“Just going to work with him and volunteering my time in his HVAC business is when I found out that I was going to a job every day that I was not getting paid for but I loved,” Jenkins wrote.

Jim Johnson is the other winning student from the HVAC program. His road to success as a Columbus Tech student has been paved with challenges and hardships but he keeps moving forward with help from a higher power.

“In the last year I have had several family members pass away; my sister in May, my uncle in August, and my mother in October,” Johnson wrote. “I admit there were several days I wanted to give up. But through prayer, the encouraging support of my remaining loved ones and special friends I am still in school.” Johnson says he has maintained a “B” average through all the trials and tribulations and the extra $625 will be a huge help.

Welding student Chancelor Jewell is another Army veteran who found his future dream job through unusual circumstances. After serving in Iraq as a diesel mechanic, Jewell “bounced from job to job” for about eight years working as a heavy equipment mechanic contractor. While he has a knack for repairing equipment, Jewell said he always wanted to make things out of metal and is optimistic about the future.

“I enrolled in the welding and joining technology diploma program at Columbus Tech in the spring of 2012,” Jewell wrote in his application. “Once I finish my diploma I am going to continue and get my Associate’s degree. My goal is to open my own welding and custom metals shop.”

Fellow welding student Stephen “Wes” Williams found himself a victim of the economic downturn. So without employment and after touring Columbus Technical College, he realized he needed to look to education as a path to a new career.

“It had been 17 years since I stepped foot in a classroom,” Williams said. “The instructors I met with are one of the main reasons I decided to go back to school. Instead of just sitting in a classroom, the students were getting hands-on training. I was excited for this approach to learning. This was an environment where I knew I could be successful and the idea of going back to school no longer felt daunting.”

Grainer Scholars July 2012

Winners of the Grainger Scholarship for summer 2012. (l to r) Grainger Branch Manager Brian Brock, welding student Stephen Williams, welding program manager Ronnie McBride (standing in for winner Chancelor Jewell), HVAC student Quincy Jenkins, and HVAC student Jim Johnson.

Congratulations to all our winners and thanks to Grainger; officials there say they plan on continuing this invaluable scholarship opportunity as long as they possibly can.