Five D214 Seniors Awarded Trades Scholarships in first-of-its-kind Bosch, D214 Foundation partnership
When Angel Gutierrez Gonzalez learned he was awarded the Blueprint Bosch Vocational Scholarship, he couldn't wait to tell his mom.
"I was extremely happy," said Gonzalez, who works at his dad's dealership changing car batteries and detailing cars. "She was really worried how she was going to pay for college, and this was really a great opportunity for me."
Pursing a passion and paying it forward is what the unique, newly established scholarship is all about.
The Bosch Community Fund, in partnership with the District 214 Education Foundation, last fall committed an initial $45,000 to the effort over a 3-year period. Each winner this year received $3,000 toward the pursuit of career certificates at the college level; the funding in many cases will cover at least one certificate in full.
Gonzalez, a senior at John Hersey High School, is pursuing a career in automotive technology at Triton College. He is one of five District 214 students selected for the Blueprint Bosch scholarship, the first trades-focused scholarship of its kind in the region and possibly the nation.
The scholarship builds on District 214's Career Pathways Program, helping empower student success beyond high school by helping fund the completion of certificates in critical trades areas like machining, plumbing, HVAC, carpentry and automotive technology.
"I was ecstatic," said Cassandra Thiel, a John Hersey High School senior who plans to study automotive technology at the College of Lake County, of earning the award. "I knew this was going to help jumpstart my career."
Thiel participates in automotive-related studies in high school as well as graphic design and photography and is also part of the National Technical Honor Society. She said the scholarship will help reach her goals and help eliminate stress caused by financial factors.
"I would like to use my talents to work at a shop or a dealership, but I'd also like to go beyond that," Thiel said in a video showcasing the winners and broadcast at a Bosch town hall-style staff meeting. "I'd like to help family and friends. Seeing their faces light up when I explain to them how things work is really satisfying."
Recipients of the scholarship were required to have a grade point average in line with the requirements of their college program, demonstrate financial need and be actively involved at their high school in the area of their future intended career. The students also had to show that they "pay it forward" and will continue to do so.
"I was very excited and thankful for the opportunity," said Nicholas Perry, a senior at The Academy at Forest View who plans to pursue a career in maintenance technology after attending Harper College.
Perry said he hopes to join a big company and working his way up the ranks or starting his own business -- and looks forward to one day teaching new workers how to do the trade.
Perry's father and grandfather were also in the labor trade, but he will be the first in the family to take college courses.
A Buffalo Grove High School senior, scholarship recipient Ross Evola is looking forward to a successful career in automotive technology and will attend Universal Technical Institute. In high school, he volunteered at a homeless shelter, cooking and serving meals. He works at Lexus of Arlington as a technician apprenticeship -- a promotion following six months as a porter -- and would love to open his own repair shop.
Juan Ramirez, Rolling Meadows High School senior, plans to pursue a career in HVAC after attending Harper College. In high school, he has taken woods and automotive classes, but said one of his greatest memories is working with classmates to build homes for veterans.
Bosch recognized the scholarship winners at a special presentation and luncheon with top leadership on May 17. This scholarship is just one way the Bosch Community Fund continues to support District 214 students and the trades, working with the Education Foundation.
"In order to set a path for success, we need to cultivate the talent of the future, today." said Roger Amrol Jr, President and CEO of Robert Bosch Tool Corporation.
Winners said they hoped to build on the spirit of the award to one day help others.
"I'm really looking forward to helping someone like me in my situation: helping them financially and hopefully being a good role model in their lives," Gonzalez said.
The Foundation is a 501(c) 3 supporting student success and innovation beyond conventional funding for public education.
"We are believers that strong schools build strong communities, but we also look to our community partners to help us build strong futures for our students, and this is abundantly apparent in this award," said Erin Brooks, D214 Foundation executive director. "Seeing these students walk up on that stage at Bosch, smiling, made you know they are dreaming big and will accomplish tremendous things -- and this scholarship will play a role in getting them where they want to be."