BELLEVUE, Wash. -- It was bottle caps off to the graduating seniors, as Quality Food Centers here once again teamed with its local Coca-Cola bottler to offer outstanding students a scholarship to area colleges.
This year the QFC Awards of Excellence Scholarship Program offered 77 graduating seniors -- one from every QFC store -- $1,500 for tuition to one of 25 Washington state public and private colleges and universities or community colleges. The number of scholarships was up from last year's 65, a number which represented the previous count of QFC stores.
Officials at QFC did not return phone calls seeking comment, but Susan White, marketing services specialist at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Washington here, said the scholarship is heavily promoted and has become something of a tradition in Washington state.
"QFC does a full-page ad in the newspaper promoting it and we do radio in the marketplace. People know about this. I get calls from people during the year to inquire about it," she said.
The scholarship program ran during the month of March, and the awards were recently presented to the winners at a breakfast meeting attended by Coca-Cola and QFC officials. Coca-Cola pays for the scholarships.
"We have special displays during the four-week time period. The applications are available at the customer service desk. There is point-of-sale [there], as well as on the soda displays," White said, adding that displays are usually endcaps highlighted with a banner.
"We get special point-of-sale from [Coca-Cola headquarters in] Atlanta that we have used for the last couple of years. We have a list of colleges on there so people can see which colleges participate," White said.
Letters with a sample application are also sent to high school guidance counselors telling interested students to go to their local QFC to pick up an application.
Participants in the scholarship program have to fill out an extensive application. In addition to a minimum 3.5 grade point average, students must also be active participants in community, school and home life. Applications have a store stamp on them so that one scholarship is awarded per store.