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Winning Formula

A Student of Science and Automobiles Recognized by the Indiana SAAC

After 35 years, the Indiana Region of the Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) had long desired “to find an opportunity to give back to our young people.” This year, the club’s dream became reality as Benjamin Kasting of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, became the first award winner of the Indiana SAAC Merit Scholarship Program. Kasting, a chemistry and music major entering Ohio Northern University, was recognized at the 35th Anniversary Shelby Spring Fling Banquet. For his efforts, which included an impressive high school grade-point average and outstanding essay highlighting his well-rounded skill sets, Ben will receive a $500 prize toward his freshman tuition.

As a regional car club whose membership is spread across about a dozen states, the Spring Fling is one of the few opportunities during the year for club members to spend time together as a whole. The annual gathering, which began in 1978, has become a chance to visit and reconnect with friends. Thus, the event has become as much a “family reunion” as much as a car show.

Upon completion of last year’s event, the Indiana SAAC volunteer committee discussed how to invest in the club’s future. With such strong roots in the “family” concept, the idea of rewarding young talent within the group developed quickly into an annual Indiana SAAC Merit Scholarship. The scholarship is open to members, their children and grandchildren who are college-bound and are directing their careers toward automotive-related fields. The award is based on academic achievement, community involvement and requires a written essay and three letters of recommendation.

The Indiana SAAC believes car clubs are a means to extend one’s family: “Treat the members as such and a club will be self-sustaining for generations.” This goal has certainly been reinforced by the creation of the scholarship. The SAN applauds this effort.