Giving back to our community is a priority for Synergy, and we believe that investing in the future by supporting bright, talented youth is an important way to do so. That’s why, each year, we select two graduating high school seniors to receive the Melissa Marie Watson Academic Achievement Award. It’s with great excitement that we announce this year’s recipients are Emma Muhr and Tyler Quigley!
They will each receive a $1,000 scholarship for their first year of college and are eligible to receive $500 awards for each of their next three years as long as they continue to perform academically and their sponsoring parent or grandparent remains a Synergy worksite employee. Although the coronavirus forced slight modifications and delays to the program, the criteria for selection is based on a review of an applicant’s G.P.A., SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation. Most importantly, students are asked to write a one-page response to a predetermined question. This year’s question was:
Identify someone who you’ve never met personally but who has had a big effect on the person you are or would like to be. What have you learned from this person?
Emma Muhr wrote about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and how she represents female intelligence and leadership. Emma is the daughter of Sarah Jabril-Muhr who works at Synergy client company Van Norman Molding in Bridgeview, IL. She is a graduate of Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Palos Hills, IL, and will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Tyler Quigley wrote about how scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson inspires him to gain knowledge that can solve problems into the future. Tyler is the son of Shawn Quigley who works at Synergy client M & J Wilkow in Chicago, IL. He is a graduate of Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, IL, and will attend American University.
“I’d like to extend my congratulations to this year’s inspiring award recipients,” commented Mike Harrington, President of Synergy. “We know that the school year may have ended in an unexpected way, and hope that this award provides some positivity as these students continue their academic careers.”
The Synergy scholarship program began in 1999 with the desire to recognize and reward outstanding academic achievement. The award’s namesake, Melissa, was the daughter of Synergy Payroll Coordinator Kim Watson and her husband Charlie. In 2002, Melissa was tragically killed in an auto accident just before the start of her senior year of high school. In the following year, the scholarship program was renamed in her honor. Ever since, two winners are chosen each year with Melissa at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Thank you to everyone who applied for this year’s award. There were a number of exceptional academic backgrounds along with fascinating answers to the essay question that included Alan Turing, LeBron James, Elon Musk, Mayor Sandra Bury, and Lady Gaga. For those looking ahead to next year, submissions for the 2021 Melissa Marie Watson Award will be accepted from January through April.