Based in Laurens, South Carolina, the school is the 12th recipient of the annual program, naming it the best technical training school in the country. WIX and O’Reilly Auto Parts are sponsors of the national award in conjunction with Tomorrow’s Tech.
“WIX looks forward to this competition every year, and knowing there are so many talented students in this country makes us excited for the future innovators of our industry,” said Mike Lerch, brand manager of WIX Filters. “Laurens is more than deserving of this award and meeting so many of the students Friday was inspiring as they shared their passion for automotive excellence.”
As part of the award, Laurens was presented a $5,000 check from WIX Filters to go toward its program and was also gifted WIX gear and a visit from the WIX Filters rally car.
Thomas Chandler was incredibly gracious accepting the award and said he looks forward to continuing his teaching. He closed his acceptance speech with a few poignant words saying, “My wonderful students, I love you all.”
While the students were aware of their school’s 2019 recognition as the School of the Year, the day they would be honored was a surprise, entering the assembly room Friday unaware that they would be celebrated that morning. The program included remarks from representatives on behalf of WIX, Babcox, O’Reilly Auto Parts and local officials.
“The ceremony reiterated for all of us the reason we support the School of the Year award,” said Frank Bird, group publisher at Babcox. “We came together to honor an instructor who is incredibly passionate about his work and a group of students who strive for greatness.”
As part of the program’s winnings, instructor Thomas Chandler traveled with a guest to Las Vegas to attend the Babcox Media recognition dinner at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in early November.