Caterpillar Excellence scholarships awarded to SGTC students

Published 3:33 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2016


AMERICUS — Three students in the diesel equipment Technology program at South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) were recently awarded Caterpillar Excellence Scholarships in recognition of their hard work, work ethics, and grade point averages.
Students who received the scholarships were: James Stroup of Americus, Ken Shorts of Taylor County, and Tyler Stanford of Adel.
“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.” Craig Kelly, 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.”
Each of the diesel technology students will 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 James Stroup, who will graduate from the program this semester. “I had problems with reading when I was younger. It made school harder but it also made me more determined to succeed. I learned that working with my hands was something I really liked to do. I like to figure out how things work and that has made working with engines fun. I have always loved trucks and trains and never thought it was possible to work on them until I came to South Georgia Technical College about a year ago.  I am excited to start my new career.”
Ken Shorts was also appreciative of the scholarship and the education that he has received. “I am so thankful to my instructors Craig Kelly and Ed Herrington for the encouragement that they have given me to work hard and always believe in myself.  If you try hard enough you can do anything that you put your mind to do.”
Shorts began working on diesel engines when he was only 13 years old.  Wayne Smith taught him a lot about farm equipment and how to work on them. “My job was to see that all the farm equipment kept running with as little down time as possible so that the jobs on the farm could be done without any hesitation,” explained Shorts, who is now working for the Taylor County Board of Education and has been there for 18 years.
Shorts maintains the school buses and other equipment that belongs to the Taylor County School system. “I have also done mechanic work for my brothers and family members. So over all, the experience that I have had working my whole life with some type of engine has brought me to where I am now. I want to receive my certificate and diploma as a diesel mechanic, because I want this to be the career for me. I chose to attend South Georgia Tech because I feel like I can get more hands on experience with diesel engines especially with the changes that have been made over the years,” said Shorts.
Tyler Stanford, from Adel, is the third scholarship recipient. He grew up around agriculture and heavy machinery. His dad is a third generation farmer and he is a major reason that Tyler chose to pursue a career in diesel. “When you group up on a farm, you have to learn quickly how to do repairs and other service work,” Stanford said. “My dad taught me at a young age to work hard and never quit until the work is done.
“I began looking at diesel technical schools when I graduated from high school. I realized that I enjoyed working on equipment and could make a career of it. My uncle had attended South Georgia Tech and always told me how much he enjoyed it. He convinced me to look at the school. I did and I registered for fall semester the next week. I believe this has been one of the best decisions I could have made. Stanford said that he enjoys having the opportunity to learn and improve his skills and thinks he is learning toward working in the heavy equipment side of diesel.  “I have nothing but good to say about South Georgia Tech.  I have enjoyed every day of class and when I graduate in December, I plan on jumping right into the work force.  That is why I am so appreciative for this scholarship.  It will be a tremendous help in securing the tools I might need for my career.  I plan to fulfill my side of the deal and be the best diesel technician I can,” added Stanford.
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.