Three Berkeley High School seniors who work at Chick-fil-A in Moncks Corner received a little financial boost this month for their post-graduation plans.
At the restaurant on March 8, top officials with the franchise surprised each teen with a $2,500 Leadership Scholarship, funded by the Chick-fil-A Foundation and the Truett Cathy family—Cathy the founder of the popular fast-food chain.
“We are absolutely so proud of these folks,” said Justin Clark, franchise owner for the Moncks Corner site.
Each of the winners had applied for the money but had yet to hear back.
“I was nervous; I was surprised,” said Savannah Dean, team member.
Dean, 18, told the Berkeley Independent she plans to attend Trident Technical College’s dental hygiene program. Parents also joined in on the big reveal and gushed over the eatery’s positive work environment for their children.
“I think it’s just absolutely amazing that they do this; it’s a great surprise,” said Amy Dean, Savannah Dean's mom.
Team member Kristin Heider, 17, praised the monetary gift she said she plans to use for textbook costs. Accepted to both Clemson and Charleston Southern universities, Kristin Heider said she’s still uncertain which school she’ll attend in the fall, but according to her mom Tonya Heider, who cried tears of joy over news of the scholarship, the money places her daughter one step closer to becoming a Tiger. Tonya Heider said it's been the teen's dream since age 6 to attend Clemson and pursue a career as a pediatrician.
“It does mean a lot; she works very hard,” Tonya Heider said.
According to Lynette Huxford, who said Chick-fil-A has employed more than one of her children, extolled the corporation for how it instills youth employees with leadership skills - ones she’s observed flourish in her own 17-year-old son Hugh, also one of this year’s scholarship winners.
She expressed what a joy it’s been for her to watch him “grow and mature” since his start as the franchise’s cow mascot. Her husband Walt Huxford agreed.
“I’m thankful for all the opportunities the Clarks have opened for our children…to work in a positive environment with a smile,” he said.
Hugh Huxford is currently undecided in his educational path after graduation but does plan to enter college. He's been accepted to the Clemson Bridge Program, University of South Carolina at Columbia and College of Charleston.
In 2019, Chick-fil-A handed out at least 6,000 educational scholarships nationwide; since 1973, the corporation has awarded more than $75 million to 53,000-plus employees, according to its website.
Recipients are chosen based on their success at work, school and in the community. Even during college, winners can still apply annually to receive the scholarship as long as they continue to work for Chick-fil-A.
According to Chick-fil-A spokesperson Susie Cha, additional 2019 winners from seven different franchises across the Charleston and North Charleston markets included the following individuals:
- April Carreon
- Jennifer Chavez
- Charity Dent
- Alanna Drinkard
- Laura Gerken
- Harlan Gibson
- Holly Hauschild
- Morgan Kephart
- Ariel Linder
- Joseph Manzanarez Schumpert
- Margaret Mckinnon
- Braden Siegal
- Rebekah Simmons
- Kyle Thomas
- Hannah Walker
- Maggie Walker
- Antenay Avery-Campbell
- Robert Calhoun
- Elizabeth Campbell
- Christopher Daugherty
- Catherine Flanders
- Antoinaya Grant
- Ricardo Green
- Scott Koenig
- Zachary Redick
- Nicholas Remington
- Tahya Scott
- Kelly Vicario
- Lanett Washington
- Anissa Watson
- Diana Wood