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Locals head off to school after earning Chick-fil-A leadership scholarships

By Michael Davis

Like many students heading off to college in the fall, Lindsey Anderson and Brittany Pope could use some extra money in their pockets for books and meals. Thanks to their after school jobs, they're now trying to think of the best way to spend their next $1,000.

Anderson, of Stockbridge, and Pope, of Jonesboro, have worked at the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Eagle's Landing Parkway for most of their high school careers. Both recently became the latest recipients of a $1,000 Leadership Scholarship provided by the company.

Pope, 18, a Jonesboro High School graduate, was finishing up her last day Friday, and planning her next steps at the University of Georgia, where she will study business. From the time she was 15, she said, she worked at the store four to five days a week. But just because Pope is leaving the store on Eagle's Landing doesn't mean she's leaving the Chick-fil-A family.

"I'm going to a Chick-fil-A in Athens," she said.

An assistant manager at the store, Pope already has some business experience.

"These guys have been with me since they were puppies. They've been with me since the store opened, pretty much," said store operator Paul White. "Their leadership skills have just exploded."

Anderson, also 18, graduated from Stockbridge High School in May.

Planning to attend Gordon College this fall, she said her concentration is in nursing.

"I took health occupations for three years in high school," she said. That's when she became interested in the profession.

But leave Chick-fil-A? No way.

"I'll work here just until I get into nursing school then go work at a hospital," Anderson said.

Asked if Henry Medical Center, across the street from the restaurant, is a likely choice, Anderson said, "Probably."

The Chick-fil-A corporation will give away more than $1 million this year in college scholarships to its employees. A program started more than 30 years ago by founder S. Truett Cathy, the restaurant has awarded some $4 million to Georgia students alone. Through a cooperative program with Berry College in Rome, the restaurant also provides some full scholarships.

The company reports that 22 percent of its store operators are Chick-fil-A scholarship recipients themselves.

"Chick-fil-A is a different kind of company," said White. "They attract great people that want to work here," he added.

As for what they will do with the $1,000, Anderson said the money will help with traveling expenses incurred trekking back and forth from Stockbridge to the Barnesville campus.

Pope said her money would likely go to the university in the form of housing fees.

But business may not be her final choice of majors.

"Another possibility I thought about is broadcast journalism," she said.