A pair of Rend Lake College students are the proud recipients of Hot Rod Nights Automotive Scholarships. The scholarships offered by the organization have helped several students pursue their passion for vehicles both inside and outside the classroom over the years.
The 2017 recipients are Tyler Newbury (Waltonville) and Dakota Berner (Christopher).
Newbury is a freshman who is currently working on a 1994 Chevy Camaro Z28.
“My dad grew up with a strong background in cars and building show cars. He did a little bit of drag racing as well. So, I grew up with that, and it’s brought me here,” Newbury said.
After graduating from RLC, he hopes to transfer to Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Automotive Program. He wants to eventually get a career in automotive design after he graduates.
Berner is also a freshman in the RLC Automotive Program. He is currently working on a 1976 Fiat X19. He too got his interest in cars from family.
“My grandpa and my dad work on cars all the time. I always found it interesting. I had a 1978 Bronco that I built and had a lot of fun with. That kept me interested,” he explained.
Berner is currently employed at Shelby and Sons Auto Salvage in West Frankfort. He plans on finishing his degree at RLC and staying on with the company, becoming a mechanic.
As for the scholarship, both men were thankful for the opportunity from Hot Rod Nights.
“I’m very appreciative,” Newbury said. “I’ve always gone to car shows. I like showing my work. It’s nice to have something like this that rewards students for helping out and being involved in the automotive community itself. We have a good community in Southern Illinois. There are car shows every weekend. It’s a good thing, especially the shows in DuQuoin and here at the college. That’s just a great thing to see.”
“This scholarship helps out a lot. Especially when you are working and trying to go to school,” Berner added.
Hot Rod Nights raised the funds for the scholarship via their 50/50 drawings throughout the season.