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Goodyear taps high schools for interns
As the exclusive tire supplier of NASCAR’s three largest series, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company kicked-off its second year of hosting race weekend interns for the Goodyear Racing and Diversity Program, an initiative the company started to provide high school students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the many career paths offered through the sport of NASCAR.  The program, offered in six areas including Daytona Beach, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Dover (DE), has provided minority students over the past two years with a graduated program of at-track experiences, internships and ultimately, the opportunity to receive one of six scholarships to help continue their education.

As part of this year’s Program, Goodyear introduced its first two 2009 season race weekend internship recipients, Kayla Lee and Gabriel Bernal.  Kayla, a senior at Mainland High School and Gabriel, a junior at Mainland High School, will work in their fields of interest with established professionals on Saturday, February 14th leading into the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race and on Sunday, February 15th leading into the 51st running of the Daytona 500.

“For the 2009 NASCAR season, Goodyear is proud to once again offer deserving high school students a unique opportunity to experience first-hand the wide variety of career opportunities available through the sport of NASCAR,” said Kris Kienzl, NASCAR Marketing Manager at Goodyear.  “Thanks to our longstanding, uninterrupted involvement with NASCAR, we are able to provide an inside look at career paths from engineering and design to marketing and promotions, with mentors from all over the sport, whether from NASCAR, individual race teams, tracks or Goodyear.”

In its second year of hosting race weekend interns, the Goodyear Racing and Diversity Program has provided over 100 students from across the country the chance to experience NASCAR first-hand and receive a behind-the-scenes look at a NASCAR race.  Students participating in these events had to maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and be in good standing in their school and local community to become eligible to apply for race-weekend internships.  Once selected, students are paired with one or more ‘mentors’ in career areas of interest to them for two, six-hour days of work.  Those students who complete their race-weekend internships are then eligible to apply for one of six scholarships, including four $2,000 awards and two $15,000 scholarships to be used towards their continuing education.

Both Kayla Lee and Gabriel Bernal attended the Winn Dixie 250 in Daytona Beach last July with other area students, receiving a behind-the-scenes tour of the pits and Goodyear Racing’s tire operations, and watching the race from the stands.  All students attending the race weekend were eligible to submit applications for a race-day internship. 

“Kayla and Gabriel were selected on the strength of their school records and extra-curricular activities as well as the recommendations of their teachers,” added Kienzl. 

During Kayla’s four years at Mainland High School she has excelled both in and out of the classroom, donating more than 500 hours of her time through community service. In addition to her involvement with the community and outstanding academics, Kayla is also her senior class’ vice-president and an integral member of her school’s basketball, track and cross country teams. During her weekend internship, Kayla will experience where her interests in sports marketing, hospitality and event management could take her.

Gabriel’s commitment to academic and extracurricular excellence is among his major accomplishments as a student.  Gabriel showcases his leadership abilities as lead producer of Mainland High School’s television program. 

Gabriel is also a member of the Key Club and had the privilege to induct William C. France into Junior Achievement’s Mid-Florida Business Hall of Fame. Gabriel will spend his internship exploring the options available in broadcasting/media, communications and sports marketing. 

Over the last 50+ years, Goodyear has worked to bring innovation to its racing products, which, in turn, has helped foster heightened competition on the track. Since it first began supplying tires to NASCAR, Goodyear tires have logged over 1,480 Sprint Cup Series victories, and the number continues to rise.  Goodyear consumer tires are inspired by the innovations and cutting-edge technology from the race track.

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