Palestine High School's Michael Guzman stood in shock when he learned he received a scholarship from Palestine's Railyard Customs and Collision worth $1,000 towards his college education.
“I didn't think anything like this could happen to me,” Guzman said. “I'm thankful. This has inspired me to continue working hard.”
As his mother and sister stood behind him with smiles on their faces, Railyard staff and Palestine welding instructors celebrated at the opportunity they were able to award to Guzman.
The Palestine senior will attend Texas State Technical College in Waco in the fall to pursue a career in welding engineering.
“He's sacrificed a lot to be where he is now,” PHS Welding instructor Gary Scoggin said.
Guzman has been part of Palestine's FFA program for three years. He was apart of Palestine's state championship soccer team in 2016, but forego his soccer career to pursue welding. His work ethic, and dedication to his craft persuaded his instructors to choose him to be the recipient of the $1,000 scholarship.
“He knew he had a bigger career opportunity in welding,” PHS Welding Instructor Joey Perez said. “This is what's going to pay his bills.”
Guzman helped Palestine FFA win Reserve Grand Champion in San Antonio and Fort Worth.
He also helped them win Grand Champion for overall mechanics on their cattle trailer at the 2020 San Angelo competition.
The talent he showed working with his hands motivated Railyard owner Ryan Ripley. Ripley was also inspired by Elkhart Discount Pool owners Gregory and Patricia Champagne, who gave away $2,000 worth of scholarships a couple weeks ago.
Ripley is looking into beginning an apprenticeship at his shop to encourage and teach students about welding engineering opportunities.
“It's gratifying when you see someone passionate about the same type of work you do,” Ripley said. “I remember being his age and being excited about my first pair of welding gloves He deserved this.”
Guzman plans to attend engineering school, after finishing his time at TSTC. He's grateful for the time Palestine has put into him and the resources Railyard has given him.