Grainger Foundation Provides Huge Help to CTC Students

Five Columbus Technical College students have an extra $525 to use toward their program-related expenses thanks to a scholarship provided through the Grainger Foundation.  Brian Brock, Local Branch Manager of Grainger in Columbus, was on hand recently to encourage the students in the HVAC, Welding & Joining, Automotive Technology, and Automotive Collision programs to continue in their fields of study, noting that they will be playing a major role in our community in re-establishing the middle class and filling vital positions in our local workforce.

Brian has been instrumental in working with the Columbus Technical College office of Institutional Advancement and its Foundation since 2010 to secure over $30,000 for scholarships for students pursuing a diploma in these technical programs. The Grainger Foundation provides these scholarships to five deserving students each semester. This time around, four of the five recipients hailed from the HVAC program.

On hand for the Grainger Foundation scholarship presentation are: (l to r) Dir. of Counseling & Special Services Olive Vidal-Kendall, auto collision program director Mike Stewart, Dir. of Institutional Advancement Gloria Dodds, Royzell Smith, HVAC program director Craig Oldenburg, Dir. of CARE Center Meg Burkhardt, welding instructor Daniel Cooper, Armando Troche, Antonio Mack, Grainger Local Branch Mgr Brian Brock, Brian Howley, Assoc. VP of Financial Aid Debbie Henshaw, and Exec. Dir. of Community & College Relations Cheryl Myers.

On hand for the Grainger Foundation scholarship presentation are: (l to r) Dir. of Counseling & Special Services Olive Vidal-Kendall, auto collision program director Mike Stewart, Dir. of Institutional Advancement Gloria Dodds, Royzell Smith, HVAC program director Craig Oldenburg, Dir. of CARE Center Meg Burkhardt, welding instructor Daniel Cooper, Armando Troche, Antonio Mack, Brian Brock, Brian Howley, Assoc. VP of Financial Aid Debbie Henshaw, and Exec. Dir. of Community & College Relations Cheryl Myers.

Brian Howley of Salem found himself in need of re-inventing after being laid off from Cessna in March of 2011.

“Good grades and retaining the information is the most important thing to me right now,” Howley wrote in his application essay. “I look forward to using this wonderful opportunity to better myself. I want to provide for my family, with doing something that I really enjoy.”

Jeffrey Crabtree of Columbus is maintaining a 4.0 GPA in the HVAC program and is also taking welding courses. He admits the schedule is rigorous but knows the pay-off will be worth it.

“My goal is to work for myself focusing on agreements and contracting opportunities within state and federal governments,” Crabtree wrote. “The Grainger Scholarship will allow me to purchase necessary equipment to solidify my capabilities. It’s my priority to hit the ground running upon completion of this program.”

Antonio Mack of Phenix City also boasts a 4.0 GPA in the HVAC program, while working full time. For him, going to college and working hard is personal.

“Neither of my parents had an opportunity to attend college and faced many struggles in their personal and professional lives because of this,” Mack explained. “They made a commitment early in my life to do everything within their power to instill in me love a of learning and an understanding of the importance of hard work and dedication.”

Royzell Smith of Columbus is enthusiastic about returning to college at 51 years of age. Enrolling in college as an HVAC student was in the stars for him; he just took a while to figure it out.

Scholarship winner Royzell Smith and Director of Institutional Advancement Gloria Dodds share a laugh while fellow scholar Antonio Mack looks on.

Scholarship winner Royzell Smith and  Gloria Dodds share a laugh while fellow scholar Antonio Mack looks on.

“When I was in high school, my counselor advised me to further my education in Air Conditioning technology,” Smith remembered. “I chose to enter the workforce to help support my mother and younger sisters. Now I truly understand that a mind is a terrible thing to waste and second chances do not come often in life.”

Welding student Armando Troche is the primary caregiver for his two daughters. He believes working hard and getting involved are great examples for them. He is a member of the National Technical Honor Society, Student Leadership Council, and a SkillsUSA team member.

“What I’ve done and continue to do at Columbus Technical College will be a part of me long after I graduate,” Troche wrote. “And with the skills learned, will promise a bright and successful future.”

Welding student and Grainger Scholarship winner Armando Troche and Dir. of Institutional Advancement Gloria Dodds.

Welding student and Grainger Scholarship winner Armando Troche and Gloria Dodds.

Several members of the Columbus Technical College staff attended the presentation to show support for the students and to thank the Grainger Foundation for the difference they make in our students’ college experience. During the presentation, Associate VP of Financial Aid, Debbie Henshaw, spoke on behalf of the Columbus Technical College Scholarship Selection Committee.

“It is always a joy for the committee to read the applications that these students submit,” Henshaw said. “We encourage them to continue to take advantage of this opportunity.”

About Grainger: Grainger has been a part of the Columbus business community for more than 20 years as the leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair, and operating products. The Grainger Foundation, an independent, private foundation based in Lake Forest, Illinois, was established in 1949 by William W. Grainger, founder of W.W. Grainger, Inc.