‘Awesome sauce’ employees of local Chick-fil-A awarded $30,000 in scholarships

The 2019 Chick-fil-A "Remarkable Futures" scholarship award recipients Tavin Barrowman, Brett Burbank, Baylie Crowton, Cooper Despain, Cianna Johnson, Jay Jones, Brinlie Leonard, Colton Lund, Jacob Nisson, Ariel Pyne, Preston Quinney, Braden Whiteley and Ryan Wright, St. George, Utah, Feb. 27, 2019 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — When diners pulled into the drive-thru of the Chick-fil-A on a recent sunny afternoon, they were treated to more than breaded chicken and sea salt waffle-cut fries. Instead they witnessed 12 truly inspirational team members awarded scholarships for being the “awesome sauce” of the restaurant chain.

KONY morning show hosts Amy Chesley and Marty Lane (on right) celebrate with the the 2019 Chick-fil-A “Remarkable Futures” scholarship award winners at a ceremony held in their honor, St. George, Utah, Feb. 27, 2019 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

In February and March, the 12 local Chick-fil-A employees joined 6,016 team members from locations across 47 states in receiving $15.34 million in leadership scholarships. The scholarships are part of a nationwide effort to promote education by S. Truett Cathy that began in 1973 and that has awarded over 53,000 scholarships worth $75 million since the program began.

“Food is essential to life. Therefore make it good,” Cathy said, and local franchise owner Deven Macdonald knows that having great employees is essential for their continued success and ensuring everything is better than good.

Education is a top priority at Macdonald’s store, and team members who are still in school aren’t even allowed to get hours and work unless they maintain top grades. He said the scholarship program is a fantastic opportunity to make an impression about the need for higher learning.

“It’s awesome. I’m trying to promote it more with my youth and make them realize how important education is,” Macdonald said.

The “Remarkable Futures” education initiative recognizes the hard work team members put in every day providing excellent customer service. As identified on the red “Awesome sauce” scholarship envelopes, these recipients have leadership scholar “ingredients” that include confidence, reliability, teamwork, honesty, positivity, creativity, kindness, intelligence, enthusiasm, passion, resourcefulness and overall awesomeness.

Chick-fil-A scholarship recipients opening their certificates at an award ceremony held in their honor, St. George, Utah, Feb. 27, 2019 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney,St. George News

“It’s unique and allows us to recognize these kids that are doing great things, and I think too often we just write some of these kids off,” Macdonald said, adding that it is remarkable that some are the first generation in their families to pursue higher education.

In a survey of previous scholarship winners in 2018, 60 percent said the program made it possible for them to attend school, and 20 percent said they were first-generation students.

“The fun thing is all these kids that received it this year can re-apply for four years,” Macdonald said.

He was beaming with pride for his workers at a certificate presentation ceremony that included 99.9 KONY morning show hosts Marty Lane and Amy Chesley.

“It’s more of a celebration of you as employees,” Macdonald said.

The $2500 they received can be used for any school of their choosing, and for students that have their tuition already taken care of, the money can be refunded back and used for things  like room, board, books or other living expenses.

Team member Ryan Wright and local Chick-fil-A franchise owner Deven Macdonald at the “Remarkable Futures” scholarship award ceremony, St. George, Utah, Feb. 27, 2019 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Team member Ryan Wright followed in the footsteps of his older brother Gary and has been working at the store for two years. He was excited to finally be awarded the scholarship.

While many of his co-workers have plans to stay local or attend DSU, Wright said he hopes to attend Bob Jones University, a Christian school in South Carolina. He told St. George News the best part about working at Chick-fil-A has been the people.

“They’re such a great group of people to work with,” Wright said. “It doesn’t feel like a job most of the time.”

Anyone interested in finding employment and learning how Chick-fil-A can help them build a better future can contact Macdonald at (435) 656-4655 or visit the website.

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Email: apinckney@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @andrewjpinckney

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

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