The Outstanding Graduate Award is presented to an individual who graduated from an ACCSC-accredited institution, is making outstanding contributions to his/her profession, and exemplifies what is possible through hard work, determination, and perseverance. The Outstanding Graduate Award is designed to recognize an individual who not only has demonstrated outstanding scholastic achievement, but an extraordinary commitment to his/her occupational field or community.
2016 Outstanding graduate
NASCAR Technical Institute
Mooresville, North Carolina
Brian Wertman graduated from the Automotive Technology with NASCAR Engines I &II Program at NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresville, North Carolina in January 2015. That accomplishment alone is worthy of consideration. But with Brian there is much more to the story. In selecting Brian as the Outstanding Graduate, ACCSC found that his path to graduation was not an easy one as he faced a number of life challenges. Following his dream, Brian relocated from upstate New York to North Carolina to attend school and pursue training that would help him to earn a job in the automotive industry. In his time as a student at NTI, Brian volunteered over 600 hours at local tracks and school events, and received six scholastic awards including 2 Student of the Course Awards and 4 Crew Chief Awards. AAnd despite the highly competitive nature of racing, Brian already broke into the field and is currently employed as a Tire Specialist with Jimmy Means Motorsports.
2015 Outstanding Graduate
MotoRing Trade and Technical Institute
A United States Air Force veteran, with seven years of medical office and billing experience, Alyssa chose to re-train for an industry that has a critical shortage of skilled technicians. Initially, Alyssa had no knowledge of the Marine Industry; she had never even started an outboard motor. The only female—and smallest person—in her class, she needed to prove she could work independently, often in bad weather and uncomfortable conditions. Juggling her responsibilities as a single mother, part-time worker and full-time student sometimes seemed daunting. Alyssa made up for lack of marine-related experience with her communication, organizational and problem-solving skills. Her willingness to “get her hands dirty”, tackle any assignment, and meet all challenges earned her the Gold Wrench Award for the combination of attendance, academic average and hands-on shop skills. Demonstrating her positive work ethic, and ability to meet production goals while interning at Onset Bay Marina, Alyssa was hired as a Marine Mechanical Technician. She is also pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management at Bridgewater State University. Alyssa plans that, if she has the opportunity to supervise other employees or run a marina, she will have “all the pieces together”.
2014 outstanding graduate
Having battled addiction herself, Racquel Garcia passionately wanted to get an education and work in a profession where she could help others. In the process, Racquel turned everything around her into motivation and through the skills she learned at an ACCSC-accredited institution and founded a non-profit organization, Helping Everyone Recover (HER) as a place for victims of ‘circumstantial or natural’ disaster to seek relief in times of trouble. Following graduation, Colorado’s most destructive wildfire on record inspired Racquel to take action in her community and she quickly began fundraising and gathering items for families and individuals impacted by the wildfire. Racquel’s efforts quickly expanded beyond fundraising and she started to work directly with adults dealing with substance abuse, and providing support to their families by assisting with matters such connecting with local charities, philanthropic organizations, and county human services departments. Through her efforts, Racquel brings hope to those who may have no other place to turn, and provides a pathway for individuals to pursue as they seek a better life.