Wareham Upper Cape Tech student recognized with scholarship, awards

May 26, 2021

One of the last things 17-year-old Orlando Guadalupe expected when he walked into the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School’s automotive shop at the start of seventh period was a large crowd of excited supporters.

But, much to the Wareham resident and graduating senior’s surprise, that was exactly who he was greeted with. 

Guadalupe’s teachers, peers, a few industry leaders, a group of underclassmen, his mentor, Doug Martin, and his mom, Jennifer Guadalupe, all gathered on May 25 to show their support for his numerous accomplishments — some of which he was surprised with on the spot.

Guadalupe won first place in a statewide SkillsUSA Diesel Equipment Technology competition, which had been held at Advantage Truck Group in Shrewsbury on April 30. His first-place win qualified him to compete in the national competition along with at least 50 other state winners and came with additional benefits. 

On May 25, Guadalupe learned that he won a $15,000 scholarship award from Universal Technical Institute. Scott Boydston from UTI explained that Guadalupe also qualified for “free advanced training with the manufacturer” of his choice. 

Advantage Truck Group’s Rob Lynds, master diesel technician and director of training for the company, presented Guadalupe with a certificate for four hours of training at Advantage Truck Group’s Shrewsbury facility ahead of the national SkillsUSA competition in June. 

In addition to those awards and an acknowledgement that he’d earned straight As throughout senior year, Guadalupe also received Upper Cape Tech’s “Top Shop” award. That award came with a selection of tools valued at about $3,000, according to Nolan LeRoy, Upper Cape Tech’s technical programs supervisor.

Guadalupe said it was all a big surprise. The first thing that tipped him off was the service truck that his mentor Doug Martin drives.

“I’d recognize that truck anywhere,” he said. “So that’s kind of when I was like, ‘all right, something’s up.’”

Guadalupe said the awards and scholarship were going to help him move forward and start a career by providing more opportunities to learn and to “become the best I can be.”

Upper Cape Tech helped Guadalupe become mechanically inclined, he said. He described his time at the school and in the automotive shop as a “big eye-opener” that showed “the harder you work the more it pays off.” 

He also praised his teachers: “They were very helpful in my very early stages,” Guadalupe said. “They led me to [...] figure out problems myself and become a problem solver.”

Guadalupe’s mom, Jennifer, attended the ceremony as part of the surprise — but even she didn’t know everything he was being recognized for ahead of time. 

“I was almost as surprised as he was,” she said. “I’m so proud of how far he’s come and how well he’s done here at the Upper Cape. It surpassed anything I could have ever imagined for him. He’s really worked hard to get here.”

She said the large scholarship from Universal Technical Institute was the biggest surprise. 

“I really didn’t expect that,” Jennifer said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for him. I’m really proud of him.”

As a student in Upper Cape Tech’s Automotive Technology Program, Guadalupe focused on heavy-duty diesel technology. Alongside his mentor, technician Doug Martin, Guadalupe helped repair and service trucks and diesel-powered equipment at Falmouth Lumber. Martin had nothing but praise — and a bit of teasing — for Guadalupe.

“March 10, I got a replacement hip. I was out of work for several weeks,” Martin said. “He was covering my butt the whole time while I was gone — taking care of stuff, getting into projects.” 

Martin said Guadalupe is “a great kid.” 

“He’s pretty sharp — most of the time,” he joked, drawing a laugh from the crowd. 

LeRoy said that during his 17 years at Upper Cape Tech, he’d never seen a student receive the same level of recognition as Guadalupe.

“He’s an outstanding student athlete, a straight A student,” LeRoy said, noting that Guadalupe was also a catcher for the varsity baseball team. “Just a very nice all-around kid.”

Upper Cape Cod Tech automotive-related instructor, Pedro Bento, reflected on Guadalupe’s first years in the Automotive Technology Program. 

“Unless I kept you buried in something, you were always getting into trouble,” Bento teased, before emphasizing how proud he was. “Look at today. Look at what you’ve got; look at the opportunities that are available to you.” 

Bento encouraged the underclassmen in attendance to see Guadalupe’s success as inspiration. Proof that “as long as you’re willing to put the effort in and as long as you’re willing to try, there is nothing that you can’t do.”