Two for two $2K scholarships

By Dean Shipley

July 7, 2014

KFC employees Emily Castillo and Makayla Juergens have accomplished something rare among their chicken-selling brethren.

They both work at the KFC/Long John Silver restaurant at the corner of High and Walnut in London. Both are recent graduates, class of 2014, of London High School. Both achieved academic excellence with GPA’s of 3.5.

Both will continue their education.

Because of their college enrollment, both applied for scholarship funds through Reach, the KFC educational grant program.

Both of them won.

Castillo and Juergens each will receive $2,000 scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year through REACH. They applied online and answered the question “What have you learned by being a KFC employee?”

Their scholarships are part of the $1.2 million which KFC awards to 600 employees company-wide who elect to continue their education in college.

“The REACH program helps KFC team members pursue their educational dreams at four-year and two-year institutions, including trade/vocational and graduate schools,” said Krista Snider, managing director of REACH.

She said having two winners in the same store occurs occasionally.

Castillo, who has worked at KFC for 14 months, will use the scholarship at Wittenberg University, where she will major in Eastern Asian Studies.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to study,” Castillo said, on a break from her afternoon shift at the restaurant.

Fellow employee Juergens, who is a one-year veteran of KFC, plans to become a registered nurse through a program at Columbus State College.

She said she has wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember. But an accident in an ATV one year ago this month put a point on that desire to enter the medical field. Because of the literal pain she felt as a result of her accident and through the recovery, she can empathize with her patients and help them.

Castillo said she has been a shy person all her life, but working in a retail food-serving setting has helped her overcome her shyness. She asked to be assigned to taking customer’s orders so she could interact with them one-on-one and quell any nervousness she may have had.

Juergens said working at KFC has taught her hard work is necessary for success. She has learned to be “good with customers, if you want them to come back. In the food industry that’s very important. If they don’t come back, you don’t get paid.”

Brian Wheeler, owner of the restaurant, said Castillo and Juergens epitomize the KFC employee.

“They’re hard working, always have a smile, good attendance, all the attributes you look for in a KFC employee,” Wheeler said.

Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1617 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.