Three South Georgia Technical College Diesel students awarded Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships
Americus, Ga.—Three students in the Diesel Equipment Technology program at South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) were recently awarded South Georgia Technical College Foundation Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships in recognition of their hard work, work ethics and grade point averages.
Students who received the scholarships were: Jacob Brunson of Ellaville, Danny Smith of Fort Valley, and Paul Strozier of Ellerslie. Starting pay for entry-level diesel mechanics is $46,360 per year and the job outlook for the next five years is expected to grow by nearly 10 percent.
“We are very proud of these students,” said Raymond Holt, Academic Affairs Dean at SGTC. “These students exemplify and personify all of the qualities we look for in a scholarship recipient.” Chase Shannon, SGTC Diesel Equipment Technology Instructor, also praised the students. “These are some of our top students. They have excellent work ethics, good grades, and a strong desire to learn. I was pleased to be able to recommend them for this scholarship.”
All three students have already had experience in the field working as Diesel Technology mechanics and plan to use the scholarship money to buy tool sets for their careers in the Diesel Technology field. They expressed their appreciation for being awarded the Caterpillar Excellence Scholarship.
“I want to thank SGTC and Caterpillar for this scholarship,” said Jacob Brunson of Ellaville. “I went to Georgia Southern when I graduated from Schley County High School in 2016, but I decided that I really wanted to become a diesel mechanic. I have worked on farm equipment from a very early age and it helped develop my aspirations to become a diesel mechanic. I have really enjoyed studying at South Georgia Technical College. My instructor, Mr. Chase Shannon, is extremely knowledgeable and is able to share that knowledge with the students.”
Brunson has been at South Georgia Technical College for three semesters and plans to use his scholarship to purchase tools. “I have worked with my grandfather on the family farm and he always had the tools I needed to work on farm equipment. But now that I am about to be on my own, I am in need of my own set of tools. I am so thankful for this scholarship and the opportunity to get a good head start on my career as a diesel mechanic.”
Danny E. Smith of Fort Valley, was also appreciative of the scholarship and the education that he has received. “I have been interested in learning diesel since the 10th grade in high school. I lived with my aunt and uncle on a cattle farm and learned to work on tractors, cars, trucks, and farm equipment. I worked beside my uncle on just about every project and I couldn’t get enough of learning about being a mechanic. I discovered that I was pretty good at it and I enjoyed it because I learned something new on every job.
“My senior year in high school, I decided to start looking into a career as a Diesel Mechanic and my high school mechanics teacher encouraged me to look at South Georgia Technical College. I came down, did a tour and met the teachers and students and I liked what I saw. I signed up and I am glad I did,” said Smith.
“I am so thankful for South Georgia Technical College and the Caterpillar Excellence Scholarship,” added Smith. “I thank Caterpillar for providing assistance to young people who can come to school and learn to go out into the workforce and be guided toward a better future. I know there will always be jobs in the diesel field.”
Paul Strozier of Ellerslie, GA is the third scholarship recipient. He is a night student in the Diesel Technology field at South Georgia Technical college and a 2016 graduate of Harris County High School. “I was hired out of high school as a diesel/heavy equipment technician apprentice with Columbus Water Works. I drive back and forth after work. My grandfather was a heavy equipment technician and ever since I could turn a wrench I have been helping him at his shop working on diesel equipment. I love it and I have been studying at South Georgia Tech for about a year and a half now.
“I decided to attend South Georgia Tech because of how much good feedback I have heard on the diesel technician program. I am glad that I did. I would like to thank Caterpillar for sponsoring this scholarship. I plan to use the scholarship to purchase tools. I need to upgrade my tools. This career is tough on tools and you need top quality tools to make a good living. When I am in the field, it is so important to have the right tools to do the job and get things back up and running quickly. I am very thankful for this scholarship,” said Strozier.
Students were selected for this scholarship based on instructor recommendation, academic achievement, test scores, and interview. Funding for these scholarships is made available by the SGTC Foundation through donations made by the Caterpillar Excellence Fund. The partnership with Caterpillar addresses the need for qualified Diesel Equipment technicians and assists students who have made achievements in the Diesel field.