The Sun News

Chick-fil-A continues tradition, awarding $25,000 in scholarships to Houston-area employees

Posing for a photo at a ceremony marking the awarding of Chick-fil-A scholarship are, from rown from left, Christopher Allen,, Autumn Stolp, Rachel Boyd, Katie Tanner, Brianna Smisson, Amie Markel. Back row from left, are Pat Braski, owner-operator; Mike Lewis, general manager; Ezekiel Morales, Trent Williams and Danny Braski, director of operations.
Posing for a photo at a ceremony marking the awarding of Chick-fil-A scholarship are, from rown from left, Christopher Allen,, Autumn Stolp, Rachel Boyd, Katie Tanner, Brianna Smisson, Amie Markel. Back row from left, are Pat Braski, owner-operator; Mike Lewis, general manager; Ezekiel Morales, Trent Williams and Danny Braski, director of operations. Special to The Sun News

Patrons dining at the Chick-fil-A on Ga. 96 got more than a chicken sandwich and waffle fries last week — they had the chance to witness $25,000 being given away.

Ten young people received $2,500 each in scholarships in a short ceremony held at the store. All 10 are local students employed by Chick-fil-A.

Awarding scholarships to their employees — called team members — isn’t new for Chick-fil-A; the company has been doing it for more than 40 years. But starting this year, Chick-fil-A’s Team Member Education Assistance was enhanced. Now, students will receive $2,500 a year and can reapply the next three years for a potential $10,000 of scholarship money for college.

According to information provided by Morgan Hendrix, Director of Marketing for Chick-fil-A, the goal of the scholarship initiative is to build community leaders; so along with academic achievement, leadership and community involvement also were considered.

“For some team members, working in our restaurant is just a season of their life,” Rodney Bullard, vice president of community affairs and executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, said in a press release. “We want to help them achieve their dreams and equip them with the tools to do it.”

Chick-fil-A team members from the Highway 96 and Watson Blvd stores that received scholarships include:

Brianna Smisson, who is studying criminal justice at Middle Georgia State University (MGSU) and has been a Chick-fil-A team member for a year.

Ezekiel Morales, who is transferring from MGSU to Georgia Southern this fall to study nursing and has been a Chick-fil-A team member for three years.

Trenton Williams, who is studying biology at MGSUand has been a team member for 5 years.

Rachel Boyd, an early childhood education major at MGSU and a three-year team member.

Nicholas Loudermilk, who will be attending the University of Georgia in the fall to study information management systems and has been a team member for one year.

Autumn Stolp, a 2017 graduate of Houston County High School who will be studying environmental engineering and physics at Georgia College and State University and has been a team member for two years.

Christopher Allen, a Mercer University student studying biology with plans to attend dental school. He is a two-year team member.

Meredith Lewis, a 2017 Northside High School graduate who has been a team member for one year. Meredith will be going on a mission trip to Cambodia in the fall and will enter college in January 2018.

Katie Tanner, a team member for three years who is studying business administration at Wesleyan College. .

Amie Markel is a Central Georgia Tech student studying radiology and has been a team member for five years. Markel, a full time employee who attends school part time, said it was the people that she loved at Chick-fil-A.

“Not just the customers, not just the employees, it is both,” said Markel. “The customers, the other team members are my family.”

Chick-fil-A owner-operator Pat Braski presented the certificates at the ceremony. Chick-fil-A has awarded more than $40 million in scholarship money since 1973. Among previous recipients was Braski himself.

“It is full circle for me since I am one of those who got a scholarship; my three brothers did as well. This is an awesome, incredible thing I get to do, give away $25,000 as an investment in these young people,” said Braski.

“What we do is at Chick-fil-A is chicken, but why we do it is to develop young people.”

Alline Kent can be contacted at allinekent@cox.net.

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