(August 27, 2009)
Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073.
Centenary Freshman Awarded 25,000th Scholarship
John Rodan, S. Truett Cathy, Jamie Dyche and Bubba Cathy
SHREVEPORT, La.— Friends, co-workers, family members, and even a cow gathered at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Bossier City on August 25 when one of Centenary's students was awarded a very special scholarship.
Incoming freshman Jamie Dyche of Bossier City received the scholarship at a special ceremony in her honor when she was named as Chick-fil-A's 25,000th Leadership Scholarship recipient and awarded a check for $1,000 by the CEO and founder S. Truett Cathy.
Also on hand to help celebrate the milestone were Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker who proclaimed the day as "Chick-fil-A 25,000th Leadership Scholarship Jamie Dyche Day." Joining the Mayor were her former principal at Parkway High School, Joe Huffman, and Centenary College President, Dr. B. David Rowe. Rounding out the group was restaurant operator John Roden.
"Jamie exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional team member with strong leadership skills, great customer service, and a winning attitude," said Roden. "It's a pleasure to reward those efforts with one of our scholarships and she is very deserving of the additional attention for being the 25,000th recipient."
Dyche has worked with Roden since he first opened his Bossier City Chick-fil-A franchisee location in June 2007. She has excelled in her job and is currently heading up the restaurant's Second Mile Service training. A 2009 graduate of Parkway High School with a 3.86 GPA, Dyche was in the top 10 percent of her class and, among other awards and honors, was inducted into the National Beta Club and National Honor Society.
She has participated in several clubs and community organizations, including serving as president of the Key Club and volunteering her time in the community through her work with the American Red Cross, Keep Bossier Beautiful Campaign and as a Vacation Bible School teacher for her church.
She has received Centenary College's Trustee's Scholarship and Centenary Academic Award. She plans to pursue a major in education and a minor in music with the intent to earn her master's and become an elementary school teacher.
Principal Huffman thanked Cathy for all the wonderful opportunities Chick-fil-A provides for young people across the country, and now in Bossier City. "Jamie represents Parkway High School in a special way that many of our students do," Huffman said. "She is a very talented and gracious young lady with many qualities that are an honor to her family. She represents that name well and now she represents Chick-fil-A and Centenary College. We are very excited about her career she is embarking on at Centenary."
Echoing Huffman's remarks, Centenary College President Dr. Rowe, stating that with all the educators in attendance, Chick-fil-A is also a place of education and a place where people are put first. "Whether it is the customer, the team member or the operator, it is that person's hopes, dreams and ambitions that are at the heart of the corporate mission of Chick-fil-A," said Rowe. "We gather in a place that shares our mission of education and that is to intercept and intersect people of all ages and help them become better versions of themselves. This scholarship is just a symbol of a corporate culture that first changed Atlanta and then changed Georgia. As someone that has just arrived from Georgia, I can give witness to the type of corporate citizen that Truett Cathy is and Chick-fil-A is for that state and the country."
Being the 25,000oth recipient of the scholarship also brought special perks. Dyche and her family were flown to Chick-fil-A's headquarters in Atlanta for a special Aug. 24 celebration. The day included a morning ceremony in downtown Atlanta at Chick-fil-A's "Climb with Care and Confidence" statue — commissioned to celebrate the 10,000th Leadership Scholarship milestone in 1995 — and followed by a lunch tour of the chain's headquarters.
Later that evening, she joined 88-year-old Cathy to help throw out the first pitch at the Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta Braves AAA) double-header game where she was joined by other scholarship recipients, including the first one to receive the honor in 1973.
Since 1973, the national program has awarded $25 million in scholarship money to restaurant team members, such as Dyche, who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of work, education, and community and leadership development. In Louisiana alone, Chick-fil-A has awarded the $1,000 Leadership Scholarship to nearly 500 restaurant team members.
"I realized very early in my career that our restaurants present an opportunity to do more than just provide great service and food. They enable us to mentor our restaurant team members by teaching them core values and how to achieve excellence, as well as encouraging continued education with scholarships," said Cathy. "In these challenging economic times, we're thrilled to be able to help Jamie and some nearly 1,400 other team members this year reach their academic goals so they will have the necessary tools to secure a bright future for themselves and our nation."
About Centenary College of Louisiana
Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.