By Jimmy Fisher
PITTSTON TWP. — It pays to be a good student and a good employee.
Madeline Moss, of Duryea, and Nicole Walters, of Pittston, were awarded money through scholarship programs sponsored by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of NEPA and the McDonald’s Corporation.
Both Pittston Area graduates were honored at a special luncheon at the McDonald’s restaurant on Route 315 in Pittston Township on Thursday, along with fellow scholarship winner Kara Romanowski, of Swoyersville.
Moss, 18, was awarded the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Scholarship of $1,000 while Walters, 18, received the McDonald’s Employee Scholarship of $2,500. Both will use the money to help pay college tuition this fall.
Scholarship program manager Beth Dal Santo said this was the first year the local Ronald McDonald House Charities chapter has been able to award scholarships.
“We had tried for five years to establish a scholarship program, but we needed to meet a lot of criteria from the Ronald McDonald House Charities organization,” Dal Santo said. “We were able to present our case last summer and we were given the green light.”
Criteria for the scholarship included marketing, financial commitments and being able to commit the amount of money rewarded through the program.
To be qualified for the award, the applicant must be a high school senior, write an essay, provide transcripts and have a minimum of a 2.7 GPA.
Moss graduated first in her class of 304 students and completed 10 honors classes and five AP classes throughout her high school career.
Her essay talked about her community services as president of a Relay for Life Team, being involved with the Duryea Crime Watch and the Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup.
The essay also talked about how her mom influences her by being a breast cancer survivor of 12 years. Her mom’s overcoming cancer has helped Moss deal with her Type 1 diabetes and focus her studies on biology, which she will study at the University of Pittsburgh in hopes of becoming a pediatric oncologist.
“It’s a great scholarship because the Ronald McDonald House is used to help sickly children,” she said. “From when I was little, my mom battled breast cancer and we would always go to Danville and pass the house. It really touches the heart.”
Walters is an employee at the Route 315 McDonald’s restaurant and the only Pennsylvania employee to be awarded the scholarship as there is only one employee honored in every state.
To qualify for the scholarship, recipients must be currently employed by either McDonald’s or one of its independent franchises, have at least four months continuous employment at the time of application, work a minimum of 15 hours per week, be a returning college student who will enroll in an accredited institution or a high school senior planning to attend an accredited institution and must also continue to be an employee at the time the awards are announced.
“I learned about the application from a poster in the break room,” Walters said. “I went online, applied and it was pretty easy — I had to write an essay, get transcripts, get a recommendation from a teacher and from one of my managers. A few months later, I heard back that I won.”
The essay Walters penned focused on the skills she learned working at McDonald’s in terms of responsibility, leadership and team work.
She will attend West Chester University this fall.
Pat Stella, owner of the Route 315 McDonald’s restaurant, offered high praise for Walters and her work ethic.
“Nicole has been here for a few years and she is a just a great worker,” she said.
Romanowski graduated first in her class of 323 students at Wyoming Valley West High School and she successfully completed 18 honors classes and five AP classes throughout her high school career. She was captain of the Envirothon Team, vice president of the Key Club, a member of the volleyball team and a member of Student Council.
Romanowski received a $1,500 award and will attend The University of Scranton.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher