NaturaLawn® of America, an organic-based lawn care company, offered high school seniors and college undergraduates across the country the opportunity to enter an essay contest, for a chance to win scholarship money towards their higher education costs. Applications were accepted from March to May 2019. Students were encouraged to submit a personal essay, as well as up to three recommendations to be eligible for consideration. The award, named The Dan Collins Scholarship Award, was established in 2017 in memory of former franchise owner, Dan Collins, who passed away from cancer in 2005.
“Dan Collins was a ‘larger-than-life’ gentleman who always had a funny story to share, an encouraging word for his fellow franchise owners, and a big heart for giving his best to help others,” said Phil Catron, the company Founder and President. “Dan's efforts in promoting NaturaLawn of America and his franchise in the Richmond, VA area can be summed up by a simple five-word question he was so fond of asking; ‘Can I get you started?’”
The scholarship was originally set up to provide a one-time $4,000 stipend to the essay contest winner to be used towards their college education. However, due to the outstanding response and caliber of students who applied this year, NaturaLawn of America decided to award three students with scholarship monies. The winners were awarded $4,000 for first, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third place.
To evaluate each application, NaturaLawn contacted a retired high school principal familiar with how scholarship awards are determined. With all identifying information redacted, the company asked the retired principal to identify the top three applicants.
The first-place award recipient was Cole Cerulli, of Maryland. He graduated from Damascus High school in the spring of 2019. He will be attending James Madison University to study finance in the fall of 2019. Mr. Cerulli is a well-rounded student, who enrolled in Honor and Advanced Placement classes and was inducted into the National Honors Society during his junior year. Mr. Cerulli is also highly regarded by his teachers, mentors, and classmates as selfless and always willing to lend a helping hand.
“We want to congratulate Mr. Cerulli”, said Mr. Catron, “he is an outstanding young man. His essay and recommendations were truly remarkable. He is someone who embodies the Dan Collins award.”
Mr. Cerulli and his parents, Michael and Michelle Cerulli, were invited to the NaturaLawn Corporate Office in Downtown Frederick, to tour the facilities and meet Mr. Catron and the office staff.
NaturaLawn of America hopes these scholarships will help students prepare for their futures with less financial burden. The company also plans to expand the contest in the future, to offer more students scholarship opportunities.
Headquartered in Frederick, Maryland, NaturaLawn of America is a national lawn care franchise system with 36 owners holding 91 licenses, and servicing over 100,000 customers in 24 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, please visit us on the web at www.NaturaLawn.com.