A former Boise high school student returned to his alma mater Monday to be presented with a prestigious award and motivate other students to follow their own career paths.

"It's pretty surreal," John Myers said. "I was in their shoes just a couple years ago staring and watching guys talk about this competition and what all it could do for you."

A high school tech program at Dennis Technical Education Center inspired Myers to pursue his passion for working on cars.

"I saw this program pop up on a registration sheet and I was like, you know I'm kind of interested in cars and engines and stuff like that in general," Myers said. "I thought I might as well take a semester of it and just see what it's about."

Myers ended up having success in the program during his time there.

His teacher pushed him to enter the Skills USA competition, which showcases the best career and technical students in the nation.

"I competed in automotive services and it was basically just a big competition with about 12 or 13 stations in which I would diagnose and hopefully repair the systems of that vehicle and test my competency on the basic knowledge of automotive components," Myers said.

Myers took first place and was presented his gold medal in front of other tech students Monday.

He hopes his success will inspire others to pursue their unique passions.

"By offering this program that has varied classes and levels of interest, it allows the students to pick their own path and be able to come to school and be excited to come to school," Myers said.