FREDERICK, MD—For the second time, NaturaLawn® of America 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. Applications for the scholarship 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 received, NaturaLawn contacted a retired high school principal familiar with how scholarship awards were determined. With all identifying information redacted, the company asked the retired principal to identify the top three applicants and rank them first, second, and third.
The first-place award recipient was Cole Cerulli, of Maryland. Mr. Cerulli will be attending James Madison University to study finance in the fall of 2019. He is a well-rounded student, accepted into the National Honors Society and Future Farmers of America. Mr. Cerulli is also highly regarded by his teachers, mentors, and classmates as selfless and always willing to lend a helping hand.
Cole Madsen of Iowa was selected as the second recipient of the award. Mr. Madsen is a college sophomore, studying turf management at Des Moines Area Community College. During his high school years, Mr. Madsen began and operated his own lawn care company, Madsen Mowing. His knowledge of turf management helped him during his internships, where his responsibilities included maintaining Minor League Baseball fields and professional golf greens.
The third recipient chosen was Alex Noble, of North Carolina. Mr. Noble will attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, to major in biology with a minor in either forensic science or marine biology. When asked, Mr. Noble stated that receiving the Dan Collins Scholarship award was an honor. He intends to live out the memory of Dan Collins by helping "change the world in his name."
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 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 NaturaLawn.com.
Cole Cerulli (center) during his visit to NaturaLawn of America Corporate Office in Downtown Frederick, MD. Also pictured from left to right are Theresa Smith (Marketing Director), Phil Catron (President), Michael Cerulli (Cole’s father), Michelle Cerulli (Cole’s mother), and Jesse Catron (COO).
Cole Madsen, the second-place winner, attends Des Moines Area Community College and is studying turf management.
Alex Noble, third-place winner, will attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.