Mitchell Gramazio, a 17-year-old employee at the Richmond Hill McDonald’s on Ford Avenue, received a $1,000 college scholarship from the fast food chain last Wednesday.
The recent Richmond Hill High School graduate was one of 18 Coastal Empire McDonald’s employees awarded scholarships based on GPA and letters of recommendation.
“The scholarship definitely means a lot to me,” said Gramazio. “It’s helping me continue my education with college, and I’m really, really grateful for it.”
Gary Stanberry, who owns and operates all four Bryan County McDonald’s restaurants said he’s proud of the company’s efforts to support their employees’ academic dreams.
“We want to contribute to our employees, like Mitchell, and encourage them to continue their education,” he said. “There are a lot of folks in McDonald’s who have gone on to do great things in the world, and we certainly are glad to have the opportunity to give our employees a step up.”
Gramazio started working at McDonald’s in May of last year, hoping to earn some extra spending money and save for college.
“When I started, I was just a new, upcoming senior, and all I wanted was to make money,” he said. “But then I started to really enjoy my job and the people around me, and it became more than just a job to me. It became like a second lifestyle.”
He first heard about the scholarship several months ago from his store manager.
“As a high school senior, I was like ‘oh my gosh, I have to find as many scholarships as I can get.’ My manager told me that there was a regional McDonald’s scholarship, and I decided to apply for it.”
He said winning the scholarship was a personal victory for him.
“This just goes to show that you can come from the smallest beginnings, and if you work your way up you can end up somewhere important.”
Owners of the participating McDonald’s restaurants awarded the scholarships, which totaled $58,000, to recipients by lottery. Ten employees received $5,000, and the remaining eight, like Gramazio, received $1,000.
"This scholarship program was created show our employees that we value the hard work and time they put toward their studies,” said Savannah McDonald’s Cooperative president John Palmaccio in a press release announcing the lottery. “We are happy to support the community and want to see more of our employees earn a college degree."
Gramazio was unable to accept his scholarship in person because he is enrolled in summer classes at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He intends to complete his summer and fall semester there, after which he hopes to transfer to the University of Georgia and pursue a degree in pre-medical studies.