The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association has awarded $67,500 in scholarships to students toward their goals in higher education.
Established in 1996, Thomas R. and Laura Ridge Scholarship Fund honors the parents of former Gov. Tom Ridge. Thomas R. Ridge was a member of the food industry for 25 years, and his wife, Laura, was a great advocate of education for their three children. To date, 654 students have earned Ridge Scholarships, and nearly $1.2 million has been awarded.
Recipients are chosen by a panel of judges who review each applicant’s academic record, school and community involvement, recommendations and a submitted essay.
“Kudos to this year’s Ridge Scholars, who represent some of our brightest young adults,” said Alex Baloga, president and CEO of PFMA.
“They have amassed an impressive list of accomplishments, service and academic and professional leadership. We are happy to recognize their efforts and help them reach their academic goals.”
Individual scholarship amounts awarded every student with a $2,500 scholarship for the 2023-24 academic year. In total, $67,500 in scholarships were awarded.
Scholarship funds come from PFMA’s Education Trust and sponsoring PFMA member companies, such as The Giant Co., Karns Foods, Rutter’s, Sheetz and Wawa.
“Working in retail food service has been a fun and rewarding experience. It has taught me to be fast, detail-oriented and friendly while performing a variety of job duties in a fast-paced environment. To think that a job I love that has helped fund my education has also allowed me the opportunity to become a Ridge Scholar is an amazing privilege for which I am grateful,” said Helayna Baer of Cheswick, Pennsylvania.
“The Ridge Scholarship will help me achieve my goal of expanding my learning experiences to study abroad in France.”
This year’s PFMA scholarship recipients and each sponsoring business are listed below:
- PFMA – Sydney Hertzog of Kutztown, Pennsylvania; Lucas Hydock of Minersville, Pennsylvania; Edgar Maysonet of Orlando, Florida; Riya Patel of Ellicott City, Maryland; Kara Peck of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania; Madalyn Strait of Columbia, Pennsylvania; and Ryan Wilson of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
- PFMA/David and Kathryn McCorkle – Sarah Graham of Altoona, Pennsylvania.
- Giant/Martin’s – Jillian Evans of Coatesville, Pennsylvania; Hannah Hess of Berwick, Pennsylvania; McKenna Kessler of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania; Peter Murnane of West Chest, Pennsylvania; and Mackenzie Owens of Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
- Karns – Kaitlyn Sheriff of Landisburg, Pennsylvania.
- Rutter’s – Alexis Benner of Reedsville, Pennsylvania; Maizie Ecker of Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania; Travis Noecker of Hamburg, Pennsylvania; Jamie Pottman of York, Pennsylvania; Mark Pottman of York, Pennsylvania; Caleb Shoemaker of Duncannon, Pennsylvania; Sandy Zheng of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.
- Sheetz – Helayna Baer of Cheswick, Pennsylvania; and LaRin Walls of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.
- Wawa – Madison Braswell of Howell, New Jersey; Nancy Colwell of Hayes, Virginia; Sydney Eckhardt of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania; Lindsay Fittipaldi of Egg Harbor, New Jersey.