published Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Top instructor uses prize for Georgia Northwestern students

Troy Peco
Troy Peco
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

To donate to the scholarship fund, call Jason Gamel at 706-764-3810 or email

With 7,000 instructors in the Technical College System of Georgia, the members of this year's Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year selection panel had a real job on their hands.

But once the nominees had been interviewed by the government and industrial leaders who made up the panel, one choice was clear: Troy Peco, an automotive technology instructor at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

"This award represents excellence in technical instruction," said Mike Light, spokesman for the technical college system, "and Troy has that special ability to empower others with the knowledge and skills that they need to go out there and start great careers on their own."

As further proof of his merit, Peco donated the $1,000 award he received to Georgia Northwestern to start a scholarship program called "Team with Troy."

The purpose of the scholarship will be to help students pay for the tool kits they need to start the automotive technology program.

"We have some really great young men and women come through this program," Peco said in a release. "But, for one reason or another, they have a hard time paying for some of the tools they need to succeed in the program. I want to help them change all that."

Jason Gamel, Georgia Northwestern's director of institutional advancement, said the donation should help cover the cost of tools for two or three students this year. But he hopes the community soon will pick up the challenge.

"We would love to see it grow to help many other students in the program," he said.

Gamel hopes local automotive body shops, tool supply companies and even individuals will donate tools and funds to help the students.

Light said Peco's generosity is in keeping with his character.

"Great instructors are very unselfish people, and what he did with that money is just a great sign and a great indicator of what kind of person he is," he said.

about Lindsay Burkholder...

Lindsay Burkholder is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She graduated from Covenant College in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Covenant she spent time writing for and editing the news section of the school newspaper, The Bagpipe. Burkholder also attended the World Journalism Institute in New York City in 2011.

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