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Education Foundation Announces Makeover Grant Winners

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LAS VEGAS, Nov. 6, 2013—Four collision repair education programs were awarded $50,000 grants on Tuesday night as part of the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Grant program.

In all, the organization awarded more than $250,000 worth of grants to 10 industry education programs across the country. The winners were announced at the Education Foundation’s annual reception at the SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The grant program is designed to recognize schools doing “an outstanding job” in educating students that need additional financial support, Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for the foundation, told the crowd Tuesday.

For the first time, the foundation awarded four separate $50,000 Makeover Grants.

Saginaw Career Center in Saginw, Mich., was the foundation’s secondary school Makeover winner, given to a high school–level program. Saginaw instructor Kurt Chrysler told FenderBender that the award will make an enormous financial impact on a program that has seen its budget slashed over the last several years.

“Everyone is getting their budgets cut or are losing their budgets. Obviously, collision repair is always one of the first programs that [schools] try to cut right away,” Chrysler said. “That’s why this is just so huge for us, for me, for the product and equipment and things we’re hoping to get and that we need for the kids to keep moving on.”

Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Ill., won the foundation’s post-secondary grant.

There were also two Makeover awards sponsored by specific organizations, given on behalf of the Education Foundation. AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah Insurance Exchange provided a $50,000 award through the Northern California Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Grant. The award went to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif. The school’s instructor, Peter Lock, is a former FenderBender Award winner.

The final $50,000 Makeover Grant winner was Maxwell High School of Technology in Lawrence, Ga. Instructors Butch Luther and Sam Melaragno were presented with the award, which was fully funded by the Atlanta I-CAR volunteer committee.

In addition to the Makeover winners, the Education Foundation gave out six $10,000 runner-up awards, a first for the organization.

The secondary school runners-up were:

  • Blue River Career Programs (Shelbyville, Ind.)
  • Norwalk High School/Southeast R.O.P. (Norwalk, Calif.)
  • R.L. Turner High School (Carrollton, Texas)

The post-secondary winners were:

  • Greenville Technical College (Greenville, S.C.)
  • Texas State Technical College (Waco, Texas)
  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology (Lancaster, Pa.)

Other awards given during the ceremony were as follows:

  • 2013 CCC Information Services Classroom Grant: Freedom High School (Freedom, Wisc.)
  • 2013 UIIC Grant: Gaithersburg High School (Gaithersburg, Md.)
  • $5,000 Geico Grants: Chantilly Governor’s STEM Academy (Chantilly, Va.), Sheridan Technical Center (Hollywood, Fla.), Victor Valley High School R.O.P. (Victorville, Calf.), Cerritos College (Norwalk, Calif.), Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Education Center (Port Ewen, N.Y.)

The Ultimate Collision Education Makeover Grant program has awarded more than $1 million to collision repair programs across the country since the grant’s inception, Eckenrode said during the presentation. This year, 126 programs applied from 36 different states.

For more information about the grant program, please contact Eckenrode via email at  or call 847.463.5244.

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