Holton High Graduate Named Male Student of the Year

June 7, 2017

Topeka, Kan. – Josh Wilhelm remembers when he was younger watching his father fix vehicles on the family farm near Holton.

“Watching him bring cold, inanimate objects back to life was fascinating,” Wilhelm said.

By observing the work, Wilhelm became intrigued with the complexity of mechanical systems, which eventually led him to enroll in the automotive service technician program at Washburn University Institute of Technology. 

“Here I was able to follow my passion for cars, get into a field I actually enjoyed and gain the skills needed for a higher paying job,” he said. 

Definitely an admirable outlook, considering he completed his studies at Holton High School the same month he received his certification at Washburn Tech. While many Washburn Tech students are concurrently enrolled in high school, Wilhelm’s ambition led him to participate in several activities at both schools. At high school, he suited up in jersey #12 to play basketball for the Holton Wildcats and was involved in clubs ranging from National Honor Society and Future Farmers of America to Fellowship of Christian Athletes. And keep in mind, he was honored for his academic achievements by the Kansas Honors Program.

As a student at Washburn Tech, he was named president of the recently founded Washburn Tech Car Club, brought home a gold medal for his work in the automotive service technology event at the Kansas SkillsUSA contest and worked on more than one vehicle for the Recycled Rides program.

“I am proud to say I have helped improve the quality of life of a few families, just by donating a little of my time and skills,” he said, noting that this experience enhanced his attention to detail, something he realized last year while repairing the oil pan gasket in one of the Recycled Rides vehicles.

“I made sure the tools remained organized, and that all service procedures were being followed. I had to ensure that the work was done correctly, and that the final product was safe for the family,” he said.

Wilhelm is appreciative of the opportunities he has been afforded while at Washburn Tech, such as the numerous certifications he could earn.

“I can put all of these certifications on my resume to show employers that I am driven to be a superior technician and that I am willing to put in the work,” he said.

His sound work ethic will be a strong asset for him in the future. In addition to his studies at Kansas State University in the fall, he plans to work as an automotive service technician to help pay for his education. Wilhelm’s ultimate goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, the knowledge from which he will pair with his vocational training, and eventually design new vehicles or auto parts.

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