Student Spotlight

Steward Cade is a refrigeration technician at JBS Pilgrims and an Athens Technical College graduate. He is also a recipient of the Rees Scholarship.

During his first semester attending Athens Technical College, Cade’s instructor, Carter Stanfield, presented a number of scholarship options to the class, including the Rees Scholarship. This couldn’t have come at a better time: In order to finance his education, Cade was working full-time from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day. Class started at 8 a.m. weekdays, and with a one hour commute from work to class, Cade was often exhausted despite his dedication to completing the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration program successfully.

Fortunately, Cade and his instructor were able to work together and explore options that could help him reduce his work hours and allow him to devote more time to his studies. Stanfield suggested Cade apply for the Rees Scholarship and four months later, he received an official award from the Foundation in the amount of $1,500.

“It works. It’s very helpful,” says Cade of receiving the Rees Scholarship award. “I wouldn’t have finished school if I didn’t receive the scholarship.” Not only will Cade graduate with a diploma in Air-Conditioning Technology from Athens Technical College in May 2015, but he has completed all of his program coursework with a 3.3 GPA and has secured a job with JBS Pilgrims as a Refrigeration Technician.

“They called the school looking for techs,” Cade said. “The teachers encouraged it and I was referred the week after for the job.”

As a Refrigeration Technician, Cade feels supported by his supervisor who encourages his continued learning.

“He’s accessible 24/7. If I have a question after hours, I can just shoot him a text.”

In addition to working in an environment where management openly encourages continued growth, Cade also mentions that what he loves most about being in the HVACR field is the opportunities it brings. Prior to attending Athens Tech, Cade worked in assembly line production, but wanted a career that would offer him a more diverse set of skills and an opportunity to put that skillset to use.

“Sky’s the limit,” says Cade. “If you’re serious about it, there are many opportunities, good money. So many different things you can do.” Cade looks forward to continuing to excel in the HVACR field as a whole and cites becoming the absolute best at what he does as a long-term goal. In the meantime, he is learning as much as he can about refrigeration and is a valued member of his team.


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