Five Chattahoochee Technical College Students Receive Unique Scholarship Awards

Their scholarships are not coming in the form of giant checks, but that doesn’t mean they won’t go to good use. Five automotive and motorcycle repair technology students from Chattahoochee Technical College were awarded with the Peterson Scholarship – a complete tool kit for their new career path.

“This scholarship is very unique and really embodies the most important aspects of what we do at the College,” said Chattahoochee Technical College President Dr. Ron Newcomb. “The college’s mission is based in occupational outcomes for our students. This scholarship literally provides the tools of the trade and offers the recipients a jump start on their careers.”

Alan and Claire Peterson established this scholarship in memory of their son, Michael. Family and friends keep his memory alive by awarding tool sets to students who are passionate about careers in the automotive industry. The Petersons hold an annual golf tournament each fall to raise funds for the scholarship awards. These scholarships were first awarded in 2006.

The winners of this year’s scholarship include five students from throughout the area:


Charlotte is originally from England, where she began her quest to learn mechanics, first motorcycle and later auto mechanics. She has plans to begin working at a shop in Sandy Springs upon completion of her diploma program but wishes eventually to have her own shop. She says she knows it will require a lot of hard work, but she is willing to do what it takes. Charlotte is a single mom, working, going to school and doing it all.


Mike is a retired Navy Seabee, having served in Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, among other military and humanitarian missions. Mike worked in construction and steel work while a navy Seabee and assisted with maintenance of that equipment, which inspired his interest in mechanics. Mike lives with his wife and twin daughters in Acworth and works two jobs in addition to attending classes at CTC studying motorcycle service technology. He hopes to open his own motorcycle repair shop and would like to cater to fellow veterans who share a love of motorcycles and of their country.


Mario Graham is working concurrently in two automotive programs at CTC. He plans to graduate after the fall semester of 2013 with two diplomas and one associate degree in Automotive Technology. He also is working to keep his GPA up so that he can join the National Technical Honor Society. His goals are to become an ASE Certified Master Mechanic and to design and build the finest cars possible in his own custom car company. He believes the Snap-On tools provided by the Mike Peterson Memorial Scholarship will be a step toward reaching those goals.


Nathan is referred to by his lead instructor, Ms. Geis, as a Doctor of Automotive! His love of cars has established his goals: to become a successful master technician and own his own business. Immediate goals may be reached sooner with the Mike Peterson Memorial Scholarship tool set because it could help him be promoted to an apprentice technician at the Honda dealership he works at. After graduation from CTC, he would like to continue and earn a Bachelor’s Degree in business or engineering, making it possible to own that automotive business in the future.


Steve Rann said he always loved tearing things up and trying to put them back together, which made his mother mad, because he broke so many toys taking them apart to figure out how they worked. Using that same energy, Steve learned the beginnings of auto mechanics from his dad. He discovered quickly the value of a Chattahoochee Tech Automotive Technology education when after being turned down repeatedly for jobs in automotive shops, he was hired immediately upon Ed Voyles Honda hearing that he was enrolled at CTC. He looks forward to working at other dealerships or car companies where his outstanding ability and education will lead him to success.

The qualifications for the scholarships include completion of at least one year of study in a Chattahoochee Technical College program and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Students applying for the scholarships are asked to complete an application, including a written essay, and provide a letter of recommendation from a current faculty member of Chattahoochee Technical College.