7-26-22 — Olathe North Grad Starts Business with Skills Learned in School
July 26, 2022 ~ Recent Olathe North High School graduate Oswaldo “Ozzy” Polanco walked into the Olathe Lowrider Leadership Bike Club as a freshman just wanting to build a bike and four years later, he won major awards in a national competition.
“The first time I came in, I immediately felt like home,” Polanco said. “They are the ones who nicknamed me Ozzy. And it just stuck for good. That club is not just to make bikes – it’s a family.”
Polanco first heard about the club after his neighbor brought home a lowrider bike that he had built at the Olathe Leadership Lowrider Bike Club, which offers students an opportunity to build a custom bike and a place to belong.
“That’s family right there. Erik (Erazo, executive director of diversity and engagement) and the cops and mentors that help out with the club are responsible for helping me realize my talent,” he said. “A deeper understanding of lowrider culture isn’t the only thing that I got out of the club.”
Polanco definitely has talent. He placed second in “Semi-Custom Lowrider Bike” and won a special award — Best Graphics — at the 2022 Albuquerque Lowrider Super Show.
“When they asked if I wanted to go, I thought what a great honor,” he said. “Being able to bring back awards and show my parents that I won this after all my hard work. I am so grateful.”
Polanco loves to make his parents proud. He started attending the Olathe Advanced Technical Center to be a part of the Auto Collison program. Through his classes and hard work, he will attend Johnson County Community College on a full-ride scholarship due to being named a CTE scholar.
“My parents came here to the U.S. to do something for us and I am going to make the most out of it for them,” Polanco said. “I am blessed that I’m able to get this full-ride and take that burden off my parents. My mindset was to not go to college but now I can because of my mentors who told me I could.”
Polanco can’t wait to start school in the fall. In the meantime, he has started his own business, called Ozzy KC Customs, to be able to put the skills he learned to good use.
“I didn’t know I had the talent to paint or to weld or to be creative, but it truly just takes one person to make people feel good and make them feel like they can do it,” he said. “I now am going to school full time, and I can still make money doing something I truly enjoy because of this club. The fact that I wasn’t a straight-A student, but I am still managing to make my family and myself proud – that’s priceless.”