Hays High grad Derek Eichman earns work ethics scholarship
Derek Eichman, a 2021 Hays High School graduate, was recently awarded a $10,000 Work Ethics Scholarship from the Mike Rowe Foundation. The Program recognizes students who understand the importance of work ethic, personal responsibility, delayed gratification, and a positive attitude. These are hardworking men and women who will keep the lights on, water running, and air flowing. The scholarship is geared toward students attending vocational or technical colleges and the student must be pursuing a skilled trade.
Students must complete a written application process including a series of essays demonstrating their work ethic, contributions to society, and how their career plans will positively impact others as well as commit to the Foundation’s 12 point S.W.E.A.T. Pledge and obtain recommendations from teachers and employers who can attest to the student’s work ethic. Students must draft a 13th Point for the Pledge, create a video under 60 seconds explaining their 13th point and their future plans, and then upload their video application to YouTube. The Foundation selected less than 150 recipients from all the applications nationwide and Derek is among four Kansans awarded.
Derek has been concurrently enrolled in the Automotive Technologies Program at NCKTC’s Hays Campus during his junior and senior years at HHS. As part of the program he has earned college credit and numerous ASE certifications. Attending the NCKTC Automotive Technology Program inspired Derek to purchase a 1967 C-10 truck and begin restoring the truck. After a few months of working during class and at home on evenings and weekends, Derek was driving his dream truck. The truck has the classic look of a 1967, but the modern conveniences of a 5.3L LS engine, 4L60E automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, and a four wheel drive suspension. As part of his coursework at NCKTC, Derek took the opportunity rebuild his transmission, add air conditioning, and upgrade the truck’s electrical system. He has spent hours cutting out rusted body parts and plans to paint the truck and customize the interior later this year. The project posed many challenges over the past nine months and required a
lot of creative thinking to complete the conversion, which led to Derek’s 13th Point to the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge…“I believe that you need to be creative enough to think for yourself and to make what you have work.” Derek’s video focused on the challenges of his truck project, how he used creative thinking in adapting the older body to the newer drivetrain, and the satisfaction he has driving the truck he built with his own hands.
During high school, Derek was active in the Hays High Industrial Technology Association, serving as Vice President in 2020 and President in 2021, was inducted into National Honor Society, and was listed on the HHS Honor Roll. In addition to school activities, Derek has been active in Troop 101 of Boy Scouts of America, being inducted into the Order of the Arrow, the honor society of BSA, in 2017 and earned his Eagle Scout rank in 2020. Derek has also been active in CrossCurrent and Revive youth groups, and volunteered in many community service projects including the annual Community Thanksgiving Food Drive, St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, and Trick or Treat so Others Can Eat.
Derek has been accepted into NCKTC’s Electrical Technology Program and plans to become a licensed electrician. Derek is the son of David and Sheila Eichman, Hays, and the grandson of Ronald and Carol Whitehurst, Garden City, and the late Cleo and Frances Eichman formerly of Palco.