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Russell Koci Skilled Trade Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Koci Family
1 winner$1,500
Application Deadline
Apr 15, 2024
Winners Announced
May 15, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Trade school student or high school seniors interested in trade schools

Skilled trades are the backbone of our society and can be lucrative, stable career opportunities. While often overlooked, higher education in a trade can be critical in order to set a firm foundation to build that career on.

Russell Koci is a retired machinist, farmer and do-it-all craftsman. This scholarship celebrates his achievements by seeking out others cut from a similar cloth. Those who seek a career in trades such as (but not limited to) fabrication, construction, farming, plumbing, electrical and beyond are encouraged to apply.

Any current trade school student or high school senior that is interested in attending a trade school may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, answer the below questions in a short essay.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published July 15, 2023
Essay Topic
  • What skilled trade are you planning to study or are currently studying and why have you chosen it?
  • Why do you plan/have you planned a career in this chosen trade?
  • Why will you be successful in your trade?
  • In general, what does a successful life look like and why will you be successful?
400–600 words

Winning Application

yandel morales
Marshall Sr. HighMarshall, MO
The skilled trade I am planning to study is welding, I chose welding because I tried it once for fun with friends the first weld I made was really bad but I enjoyed it and since then I saved up money to buy myself a small welder have been practicing my welding. I have been welding for almost 4 months now and every rod is worth burning. I am very interested in making welding my career. I have planned in that trade because I enjoy welding every time I burn a rod it makes me happy. I weld when I have a lot on my plate and I would happily weld for a career. I will be successful in my trade because I am very motivated. Once I want something I go after it, I am very hard working I have been helping my father in his construction company since I was 12 and I love working with my hands. I enjoyed working construction but welding has had my attention ever since and I will pursue welding until I make the pipelines and go up from there. Welding is a passion of mine. To achieve success in my chosen trade, I am committed to lifelong learning and professional growth. Embracing new technologies, techniques, and industry trends will allow me to remain relevant and adaptable in a rapidly evolving field. Additionally, I aim to cultivate a reputation for excellence and reliability, which will open doors to exciting opportunities and professional advancement. In conclusion, my decision to pursue a career in welding is driven by a genuine passion for the field, the promising opportunities it offers, and the potential for personal and professional growth. Through dedication, continuous learning, and a commitment to excellence, I am confident that I will achieve success in my chosen trade and contribute meaningfully to the industry. A successful life, in my view, involves realizing one's potential, making a positive impact, and finding fulfillment in one's endeavors. I am determined to pursue these ideals in my chosen trade and strive for success in all aspects of my career. I believe that success in my chosen trade will be reflected in the quality of work I deliver and the relationships I build with clients, colleagues, and industry peers. By consistently delivering high-quality results, demonstrating integrity and professionalism, and contributing to the collective knowledge within the welding industry, I will establish myself as a successful professional in my trade.
Zander Famous III
Johnson County Community CollegeOlathe, KS
My interest started a few years ago during a visit with my Grandfather David or “Pa” as he is lovingly referred to by the family. He showed me how he uses welding to maintain his farm and equipment in rural Holton, KS. He let me try my hand at a simple weld and it piqued my interest immediately. The bright lights, sparks, crackles and pops, intense heat, protective gear, and distinctive smell were very intriguing and new! Growing up in the city, this was not something I had been previously exposed to at any point. I started to research welding and the opportunities available in various industries. I found out shortly after that my high school offered a 2-year program at the local Technical Center. I also saw it as an opportunity to use my skills to travel around the country, and perhaps the world. Since 70-80% of manufactured goods use welding and almost every trade needs a welder, I plan to become a skilled certified welder where many job opportunities will be abundant in the upcoming years. I knew I wanted to be part of a high-demand hands-on career where I could join the workforce faster by attending my local community college trade school program. I understand that as metropolitan areas grow and aging infrastructure needs repairing and replacing across the country, I will be able to contribute my skills to a critical need. According to the American Welding Society (AWS), new skilled welders will be needed to replace retirees and meet rising demand from natural gas drillers, steel producers, automakers, and more. I want to fill that growing need and be part of the solution. I am currently a high school senior in my 2nd year of the Welding Technology Program through Olathe Advanced Technical Center. I will graduate with an AWS SENSE Entry Level Welder I Certificate. I have toured a local welding and fabrication company to gain knowledge of one type of work environment. I understand that this is a very labor-intensive career that demands high attention to detail. I will be successful in this trade because I have already been studying welding in high school, plan to continue my studies before joining the workforce, my strong technical math skills, and my drive to perfect my technique. I am a very industrious worker who maintains a positive attitude while learning to perfect this new skill. After graduation, I plan to attend Johnson County Community College and pursue an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Metal Fabrication and Welding. By starting my career sooner than others attending a traditional 4-year college program, I hope to secure stable work experience and grow my future career skills and opportunities faster. Through my high school welding program, I discovered that I prefer hands-on work more than anything else and I can’t wait to see where this industry takes me. I believe there are many facets to a successful life. Working in a field that I love, being able to support a family, having a good work/life balance, becoming a respected professional in the trade, helping others succeed, always keeping a positive mindset, being a positive role model in my community, and maintaining a good relationship with friends, family, and coworkers. I know I will be successful because I am young and have everything to look forward to in this life. I am willing to put in the work, both professionally and personally. I appreciate your consideration and am extremely excited to join an exciting career path within an important building and manufacturing industry.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 15, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 15, 2024.

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