Star Staff Reports
2013 Marks 40th Anniversary of Chain’s Scholarship Program
Millington resident and Chick-fil-A team member Keesa Williams is one of only 25 students across the country to receive the 2013 S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award, the chain’s highest scholar recognition that continues Chick-fil-A® founder S. Truett Cathy’s legacy of supporting higher education.
Williams received the award from her franchised Operator Grant Edwards, at the Chick-fil-A restaurant located at 8492 Highway 51 North.
The 25 winners are chosen annually from among the chain’s 1,600 Leadership Scholarship winners, all of whom are employed at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country. The program was created by Cathy in 1973, marking 40 years of scholarship giving that to date has resulted in $30.7 million in $1,000 scholarships nationwide and more than $1.6 million awarded in Tennessee alone.
This second $1,000 scholarship, the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award, recognizes team members who excel in academics, community service and leadership. A life-long supporter of higher education, Cathy personally selected Williams and the other 2013 recipients in conjunction with a blue-ribbon panel of Atlanta-area civic and business leaders.
Caudill becomes the first Chick-fil-A restaurant team member in Millington to be selected for the honor — bringing the total in the state to 26.
“For several generations now it has been a priority for me to encourage and support our team members as they seek to further their educations,” said Cathy, 92, who continues to serve as CEO of the Atlanta-based chain he founded. “I am thrilled to recognize youth such as Keesa whose dedication, pursuit of excellence and personal character exemplify the traits we want to foster in the leaders of tomorrow.”
Williams has worked at the Wilkesboro Chick-fil-A location since February 2011. She is studying history at University of Memphis, where she has attained a 4.0 GPA. Williams plans to continue her education to attend law school. The 2010 valedictorian of Millington Central High School, Williams was active in Bridge Builders, student government and volunteered at various nursing homes and churches.
“Williams personifies the qualities the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award was created to recognize,” said Edwards. “She leads by example in our restaurant and community. I am delighted that her hard work, positive attitude and leadership have been rewarded with this prestigious scholarship.”
Chick-fil-A’s franchised Operators make an effort to create a working environment that cultivates creativity among team members as well as character development that will help them excel in school, home and in their communities. These Operators, many of whom are Leadership Scholarship and S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award recipients themselves, serve as mentors in promoting the development of restaurant team members in the areas of goal-setting, integrity, service, work ethic and leadership.
Since its inception, the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award has awarded $425,000 in funds to previous Leadership Scholarship recipients.