Chick-fil-A awarded several area employees with scholarships equaling nearly $33,000 this past weekend.
What started as founder Truett Cathy setting up an empty mayonnaise jar on the counter to start a college fund has grown into a $92-million investment of scholarships given to nearly 60,000 employees to help them pursue a higher education since 1973 as part of the Remarkable Futures Scholarships and educational grants.
There are several requirements to be eligible for the scholarship, including having a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, being employed at a franchised, company-owned or affiliated restaurant, being a team member at the time the award is presented and being a student planning to enroll in undergraduate or graduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college.
Among the dozen recipients were 20-year-olds McKayla Oesterreich and Gabriel Miller, juniors at Missouri State University who both work front of house at the Sunshine location.
An elementary education major, Oesterreich’s goal is to one day teach in the classroom, but a long-term hope is to write online curriculum. This past year as a college student during a pandemic has offered Oesterreich insight to an aspect lacking in online schooling, which is engagement, she told a News-Leader reporter during an award ceremony Sunday. Oesterreich is also getting her accelerated masters in curriculum.
“This is such a blessing,” Oesterreich said about the scholarship. “School is so expensive, especially pursuing my masters in an accelerated format. It’s really beneficial to do all these different scholarship opportunities.”
Oesterreich had forgotten she applied for the Chick-fil-A scholarship until Brian Heberlie, owner of the Sunshine and Campbell locations, called her.
“I was actually in the car with my mom, and me and her were both crying,” she said.
Miller is majoring in wildlife biology and just made the decision to pursue her masters.
“This scholarship is really going to help me with that,” Miller said, hoping to one day possibly work for the national parks or a conservation group. “I’m taking it as a sign from God, like, ‘Yeah, you have the benefits. You have the resources. You have the people behind you. Go for your masters and achieve those goals for your career.’”
At 23, Katie Hansen is wrapping up her masters program in occupational therapy at MSU and works at the Sunshine location.
“It’s the home stretch,” Hansen said. “My dream is to work in a pediatric hospital with kids maybe in St. Louis or Kansas City.”
Higher education can bring a financial burden, but Hansen said she’s glad to have a scholarship to help her with the load.
“It’s something to be proud of,” Hansen said. “Chick-fil-A’s provided so much for me in the past since I started working here and this is my second year getting (the scholarship).”
Not all the recipients are currently in college. Elizabeth Kennedy, 17, is a senior at Kickapoo High School and works at the Glenstone location. Her dream is to attend the University of Missouri and get a degree in nuclear medicine.
“I’m wanting to work in a cancer center as a radiation therapist when I’m older,” Kennedy said. “Cancer runs in my family a lot. My mom had it my freshmen year, and my grandma died from cancer this past summer. It’s something very close to my heart and something I’m very interested in.”
Getting a scholarship alongside the others is exciting.
“All those girls in there are my best friends,” she added. “We go to school together; we go to church together and I finally got them all working with me too.”
This year’s recipients included:
- Braden (Brady) Boyce
- Cole Franklin
- Samantha (Sam) Ghattas
- Katie Hansen
- Patrick Kenny-Smith
- Gabrielle (Gabi) Miller
- Sam Nack
- McKayla Oesterreich
- Matthew (Matt) Whalen
- Chelsea Cullins
- Elizabeth Kennedy
- Aspen Lance
Both store locations considered non-recipients and decided to also award additional scholarship money to those individuals in a leadership position that did not get the $2,500 scholarship. They included:
- $1,000 Glenstone Leadership Scholarship – Ryan Kennedy
- $1,000 Sunshine and Campbell Leadership Scholarship – Carina Williams
- $500 Glenstone Future Leaders Scholarship – Annabelle Klein
- $500 Glenstone Future Leaders Scholarship – Carson McCrary
The post “Chick-fil-A employees split $33K in scholarships” Was originally published on www.news-leader.com