WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Mid-State College of Technology has announced the first-ever winner of the $15,000 grand prize in its Free Study Thursday competition. Granton, a diesel and heavy equipment technician student, learned of his victory during the third inning of the Rafters’ game on August 12 at home against Green Bay Poway.
Tuition Free Thursdays is a summer Mid-State promotion offered in conjunction with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters baseball team, with scholarship funding provided by Mid-State Technical College. Since the competition was first introduced in summer 2018, there have been several randomly selected winners of the $500 scholarship, which also includes free all-inclusive Solarus Founders Club tickets to the Rafters game and a chance at a $15,000 prize – average cost two years of education in the Mid-State . catch? During a contestant’s game, the archers must hit the first three consecutive hits of the opposing team during the third inning without any of the hitters reaching the base (three up, three down).
A recent graduate of Marshfield Senior High School, Hains is the first to automatically win the Free Education Grand Prize. His award will offset any cost of his attendance at Mid-State while pursuing his associate’s degree. Any remaining amount will be paid in accordance with the Mid-State Foundation Scholarship process.
Hains’ mother submitted his name for free tuition Thursdays earlier this summer without his knowledge. “I didn’t know until four hours before the game that I went in, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to win,” he said.
He said that a lot of loose balls in that crucial third inning “made him a little intimidating,” especially considering the financial situation he and his mother were facing as he prepared to start this fall on the Heavy Equipment and Diesel Technician program in Mid-State.
“Winning this scholarship means a lot to me,” he said. “All the money my mum and I try to save – it weighs us down a lot. This will allow me to go to school without stress and not have to worry about making the payments. I can just come here and enjoy learning in my diesel lessons.”
Hains’ interest in diesel technology began in his childhood and took off in his sophomore year at Marshfield Senior High School, when he completed a year-and-a-half youth apprenticeship with Roehl Transport in Marshfield. Since then, he has worked as a diesel technician for Hill Road, LLC, in Chile, a custom shop specializing in heavy equipment and 4WD construction.
“I love working on trucks and making them faster,” he said.
Hains now plans to complete an associate’s degree in diesel at Mid-State and see where his work on Hill Road will take him. He is also working on getting his commercial driver’s license so he can drive trucks and operate heavy equipment.
“It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to offer students creative, fun and engaging ways to receive funding for their education,” said Jill Stickbauer, Foundation and Alumni Director. “Free tuition Thursdays and this $15,000 award allow us to be a game-changer for students on their way to earning an on-demand degree at Mid-State University.”