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HVAC Students Receive National Scholarship

Two Gadsden State students were recently awarded national scholarships through the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).  Michel Lafortune of Boaz and Scott Thompson of Odenville each received

$2,000 in scholarships to use toward pursuing their degrees in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.

AHRI’s Rees Scholarship Foundation was established to honor the legacy of Ted Rees, a former president of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), a predecessor organization to AHRI, for his efforts to encourage HVACR manufacturers to provide support to strengthen career and technical school education nationwide.  Its aim is to increase the professional qualifications of HVACR and water heating industry employees by promoting careers in the industry and greater technical expertise through education.

As Rees Scholarship Foundation (RSF) scholarship winners, Lafortune and Thompson are 2 of 97 deserving students to receive this honor over the last ten years.  “Gadsden State is proud to have two students receive a nationally-awarded scholarship sponsored by the Rees Foundation.  Such a feat confirms the quality of students who enroll in our technical programs and that they can compete nationally,” said Tim Green, dean of technical education and workforce development at Gadsden State.  Mr. Green added that none of this would have been possible if the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program instructors, Tim Hardy and Eric Campbell, had not pursued and successfully achieved national certification for their program through PAHRA, the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation.

Each year, the foundation awards scholarships of up to $2,000 each to qualified students who are enrolled in an HVACR program at an accredited institution.  The Foundation’s mission is to assist with the education, recruitment, and competency of future HVACR and water heating technicians.  By awarding scholarships to the brightest students enrolled in an accredited technical school or college, the RSF will help the most talented candidates enter the HVACR and water heating industry and support AHRI members by enhancing industry expertise.  Additionally, the Foundation is committed to having a positive impact on individuals’ lives by providing financial support to students in need and making the HVACR and water heating industry more attractive to high caliber students who would otherwise join other industries such as automotive, aviation, or information technology.

Eligible students of this prestigious award must be enrolled in an institutionally accredited school preparing for a career in either residential or light commercial air conditioning, heating, and water heating; or commercial refrigeration.  The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Program at Gadsden State is taught by Eric Campbell on the Ayers Campus and Tim Hardy on the Valley Street Campus.


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