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Students' winning video earns makeover for school auto shop

Oak Lawn High is beneficiary of $25K in cash & prizes

(From Feb. 2, 2012)

Oak Lawn High School's auto shop will get more than $10,000 in tools and another 10 grand in cash after students took first place in a national contest.

The students in instructor Tim Krough's advanced automotive classes won the $25,000 grand prize for presenting the best argument in Universal Technical Institute Foundation's "Why My High School Auto Shop Needs a Make Over" video contest. In addition to $10,000 the auto shop will receive a Clip Car and $12,500 in Snap-On tools.

The awards are courtesy of Universal Technical Institute, Snap-On, and Bridgestone/Firestone.

"We have officially been given first place, however, we are still waiting to figure out some logistics on when we can receive the prizes," Krough said. "We're still uncertain how exactly the money will be spent; it will go to updating some equipment."

Krough worked with his automotive students to create a video depicting the reasons Oak Lawn High's auto shop needed a makeover. After receiving an email from the school's career facilitator the students had just two days to complete the requirements for the contest, Krough said.

"I was sitting in front of my computer, reading this email thinking this was impossible," he said. "Then decided, okay, let's do it and see what happens."

The students and Krough decided they had to create a funny video to make people want to watch it.

"You see these rims, you see these, they even got no car for it!" student Eric Furlong states in the video.

Krough worked on the video in class with his students, edited it from home, and sent it via Facebook by the deadline. After not hearing anything for about a month, he received a phone call the Friday before the start of the second semester indicating Oak Lawn High was one of eight finalists, and the only one from the Midwest.

"Then it became work," Krough said.

The videos were posted on Facebook and the winner was chosen through a popular vote. With the support of Oak Lawn High Assistant Principal Joe McCurdy and division chairman Dave Johnson, Krough and the students worked on getting the word out to the community. The village of Oak Lawn also ran the video on public access Channel 4 and spread word of the effort on Facebook and with fliers.

Once the information was out, Oak Lawn High School District 229 Superintendent/Principal Michael Riordan agreed to shut down the school's block of Facebook for one day so students could vote.

"That day they turned it off, I think we had 2,200 votes," Krough said. "There was tremendous support from the entire school, from the entire community."

The video earned a total of 3,320 votes on Facebook to win the contest, according to Universal Technical Institute Foundation Vice President/Executive Director Veronica Meury.

"We're thrilled to be able to help Oak Lawn's auto shop provide a quality education for its students by giving tools and technology that makes that possible," Meury said in a statement.

Arizona-based Universal Technical Institute Foundation is a nonprofit organization with the stated mission to raise funds to support and encourage the technical education for the automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle, marine, NASCAR, and other transportation industries through scholarship, grants, career development and other special programs.

The first-, second-, and third-place videos are posted on Facebook at https://apps. facebook.com/drivetosucceed/ index2.php.