Amy Jacksic was 100 percent certain of her choice of Morton College student Jose Ochoa-Villalta for the first Rich Jacksic Automotive Technology Memorial Scholarship, but she needed to text her sister.
Emily Meyerowitz, Amy’s sister, quickly responded, Jose, followed by many exclamation marks.
Judging by Jose’s joyous response to the news today (July 26th) during a surprise announcement in an automotive technology class before members of the Jacksic family, Morton College administrators, instructor Don Sykora and Ochoa-Villalta’s classmates, the scholarship committee made the right choice.
Jose was beaming and high-fiving his classmates as he walked up front to receive the scholarship, which goes to a Morton College student pursuing an Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Technology.
Amy and Emily created this scholarship in memory of their father, who died in April of 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. He operated an automotive business out of his home in New Jersey and Amy, a Riverside resident, recalled her father working seven days a week to create a successful business that helped put his two daughters through college.
Presenting the scholarship to Ochoa-Villalta were Amy Jacksic; her husband, Mark Shevitz; and their son, Jake Shevitz.
“We want to support this type of learning environment,” Amy said. “Jose is the type of student you want to see highlighted. He was one of the best applicants.”
Ochoa-Villalta is the seventh from a family of 10, which includes six brothers and four sisters. Born in Honduras, Ochoa-Villalta came to the United States in 2008. Both his father and a brother are mechanics.
“I was very surprised and honored to receive this scholarship,” Ochoa-Villalta said. “This will help me continue to go to Morton College.”
In addition to helping his family, Ochoa-Villalta supports 15 students of junior high school age back in Honduras with school supplies and clothing.
“I’ve been blessed and I want to pass it along,” explained the Cicero resident. “I try to give back to others.”
Amy said her father was extremely hard-working, loyal, and loved by friends and family.
“One of his favorite things to do was take the time and mentor young adults looking to enter the industry,” Amy noted. “This scholarship honors his legacy by encouraging young men and women to pursue an automotive career.”