5 win Free Tuition to Owens Community College
Alyssa Davis of Toledo and Phil Carlen of Findlay each will attend Owens Community College for free in 2011-12 after winning the “Tuition is Right” free tuition contest hosted by Owens and Clear Channel Radio’s 92.5 Kiss FM, 104.7 WIOT, 101.5 The River and 103.7 CKY.
Three individuals each won a semester of tuition as contest runners-up: Keri Lutz of Maumee, Alisha Shepherd of Portage, and Sarah Villarreal of Oregon.
Davis, 17, and Villarreal, 19, will be first-time Owens students in Fall Semester 2011. Carlen, 40, has attended both the Owens Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses off-and-on since 1989. Shepherd, 28, has a similar story, having attended both campus locations since 2001. Lutz, 19, enrolled at Owens in 2010.
At the Toledo-area Campus finals, Davis won the reverse raffle from among 148 qualifiers in attendance. The 2011 Toledo Central Catholic High School graduate planned to enroll in the criminal justice technology program at Owens; now Clear Channel Radio will pay her tuition for the first year. She wants to pursue a career in forensics.
Last year, Davis said her mother, Holly, entered the “Tuition is Right” and was eliminated three places away from winning the grand prize.
“I was really nervous,” Davis said of her time standing in front of the crowd of 400 as one of the final two. “I thought we were going to lose again. Then, I wanted to cry. I thought, ‘Oh my Gosh! I won!’”
Lutz, a 2010 Bowling Green High School graduate, won the first runner-up prize. She is majoring in commercial art technology.
A former Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Student at Owens, Lutz said she has enjoyed her Owens experience, which includes working in the College’s Library.
“There are a lot of good people on campus,” she said.
Shepherd grew up in the Bowling Green area, but graduated high school from Providence Christian School in Riverview, Fla., in 2001. She returned to Northwest Ohio and started attending Owens later that year.
She said she’s completed many of her general education classes. Now the tuition prize will help her pursue a culinary arts degree and dietetics certificate. Her goal is to complete a bachelor’s degree in nutrition.
“I’ve tried to win the ‘Tuition is Right’ for three years. I’ve gone to both finals each year,” said Shepherd, who’s employed as a waitress at Olive Garden in Findlay. This year, her perseverance paid off; she was the first person eliminated for the grand prize, but then won the last of the runner-up prizes.
At the Findlay-area Campus finals, Carlen won the grand prize from among the 120 qualifiers present. He re-enrolled at Owens in January of this year and is majoring in pre-business administration with plans to complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting or information systems at either Ohio State University or Bowling Green State University.
A 1989 Toledo Rogers High School graduate, Carlen first enrolled in automotive technology classes at the Owens Toledo-area Campus. He completed his machining certificate in 2000, when he was a tool and die maker.
“I’ve had a lot of jobs. I’ve worked in factories for 16 years. That’s why I’m going to school, to get out of the factory,” said Carlen, whose employers have included Cooper Tire and Rubber Company.
Villarreal graduated from Clay High School this year. She’s enrolled in the pre-nursing curriculum with a goal of gaining a seat in the registering nursing program.
At the finals, she made the final 15 before being eliminated for the grand prize and then won the second-chance drawing.
“I was surprised. I was stunned,” she said. “This money is going to really help with my first year of college.”
The emcees at the events were Pyke from 104.7 WIOT, Rick from 101.5 The River, Demetrius from 92.5 Kiss FM and Johny from 103.7 CKY.
Overall, 735 qualifiers were eligible to attend the finals. Since 2003, Owens Community College has partnered with Northwest Ohio media 10 times, including nine occasions with Clear Channel Radio, and offered a free tuition contest.