Hoffman Estates, IL – May 3, 2019 – A fundraiser and a surprise scholarship benefited Tennessee collision students in April. With collision professionals from across the country in Nashville for industry meetings, the local I-CAR Committee used the opportunity to surprise one hard-working collision student, Zac Stephens with a full scholarship.
During the scholarship presentation, Kyle Medeiros from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Chairman of the Nashville I-CAR committee said, “We’re inspired by your (Zac’s) passion and commitment in the industry and life in general.”
Stephens hopes to run his own repair shop one day, with a focus on honesty. After he thanked I-CAR and the Foundation for his scholarship, they shared a quote from his application essay.
“My goal in the industry is to bring a whole new outlook on auto body shops. I hope to eventually start my own business that focuses on the honesty of the employees and the quality of the finished product,” wrote Stephens in his application for a scholarship from the Foundation, “When I’m the most trusted in the business, you will be content in knowing that you helped me get there.
Medeiros said, “This scholarship is going to allow Zac Stephens to step into the industry without a financial burden, which we hope propels him to reach his dreams quicker. We decided to erase 100 percent of his debt because of his excellence in the classroom (3.94 GPA) plus his story was inspiring. He has a true passion for this industry and is committed to a future in it.”
Past scholarship recipients in Tennessee have benefited from the work of the local I-CAR committee’s fundraising efforts. Morris Rothfeldt, Jr., a Nashville scholarship recipient from 2017, said, “Earning a merit based CREF scholarship assured me that I was not only pursuing something I loved, but that my passion assured results. I think most everyone wants to be good at what they do, that means so much more when you do what you love, especially when more lucrative opportunities avail themselves.”
The local I-CAR committee also held a TopGolf fundraiser on Tuesday, April 16, the night before the other industry meetings started. The funds from TopGolf will benefit the Collision Repair Education Foundation in support of Nashville area high school and college collision repair programs. The Nashville I-CAR committee, in conjunction with the Collision Repair Education Foundation, offers tool grants and scholarships to local students every spring.
“TopGolf was an amazing experience,” said Medeiros, “It was our first year hosting the fundraiser at TopGolf. The demand to be a part of the event was overwhelming and we ended up with 200+ attendees from all different avenues in our industry.”
The annual tool grant and scholarship is open to collision repair students in Tennessee.
Medeiros said, “It’s no secret that our industry faces a technician shortage in the near future. Our committee wants to make sure we’ve done everything possible to change that narrative in our local market. Investing in our local schools and students is the first step in that change.”
Collision repair scholarships continue to make a difference in student’s lives after graduation.
“The scholarship made it easier for me to afford an education and be able to support my dreams after college,” said Crystal Burt, a 2017 scholarship recipient, “Right after graduation in August 2017 I was able to acquire a job at Camping World in Anniston as a collision technician where I worked till October of 2018. I was then promoted to OEM parts Coordinator for the location and that Is where I still am working today.”
The Nashville I-CAR committee and the Repair Education Foundation aim to help those interested in collision repair achieve their goals through scholarships, grants, educational funding, and connecting young talent with career opportunities.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation, founded in 1991, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to securing donations that support philanthropic and collision repair education activities that promote and enhance career opportunities in the industry.
Industry members interested in joining the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s supporters, and assisting high school and post-secondary collision school programs should contact Director of Development Brandon Eckenrode at (312) 231-0258 or Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org.
SUGGESTED CAPTION: Zac Stephens (right) received a $14,000 scholarship from Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for the Collision Repair Education Foundation. The scholarship, that eliminates Stephens’ student debt, was made possible through the fundraising efforts of the Nashville I-CAR committee.
About the Collision Repair Education Foundation:
The Collision Repair Education Foundation, founded in 1991, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting collision repair educational programs, schools, and students to create qualified, entry-level employees and connect them with an array of career opportunities. For information on how to donate to programs supported by the Education Foundation visit us online at: www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org.