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Freshman student selected to receive Kennywood scholarship

Danielle Butler, freshman criminology major and Kennywood Park employee, was chosen by Kennywood and Sandcastle to receive a $1,000 scholarship as recognition of a strong work ethic in addition to exemplary academic standing.

According to a WordWrite Communications press release, Kennywood and Sandcastle encourage their student team members to apply, and then award the academic scholarship to ten people.

Butler has worked four seasons at Kennywood, spending the most recent period as a food and beverage supervisor at Sandcastle, Kennywood’s fellow park.

Joe Barron, the human relations director at Kennywood Park, elaborated on the purpose of the scholarship.

“Kennywood began offering scholarships 25 years ago as a way to honor and express appreciation to our Team Members for their service to

Kennywood, academic achievements, and extracurricular activities,” Barron said.

Barron also noted that the scholarship is aimed toward all park team members that are attending institutions of higher learning.

“We provide the scholarships as a way to recognize Team Members who go above and beyond in their work at Kennywood, at school, and in the community. We know how important and expensive school is, and the scholarships help provide some extra funds for books and the like,” Barron said.

Barron also spoke highly of Butler and her work at Kennywood.

“Danielle is a dedicated and loyal Team Member, who gives one hundred percent of her effort in all of her tasks at Kennywood,” Barron said. “We’re thankful to have her as a part of our team.”

Barron believes that employment at Kennywood helps to prepare students for life.

“Working at Kennywood is a great stepping-stone in students’ professional development,” Barron said. “Our Team Members get to interact with people in a wide variety of situations. They gain valuable experience working with other people from different cultures and areas. And having an internationally-renowned amusement park like Kennywood on your resume can be an eye-catching bullet point for future employers after graduation.”

Barron also finds that Kennywood itself benefits from having students employed there.

“Our Team Members are the lifeblood of Kennywood — we literally could not survive without them,” Barron said. “Working in an amusement park can be tough at times — hot summers, long hours, and a lot of interactions with guests expecting to have the times of their lives. We feel our team, largely made up of college and high school students, is the best you’ll find in the amusement park industry.”

Butler found receiving the scholarship rewarding.

“I was honored to receive the scholarship this year because I know that my time and hard work paid off,” Butler said. “There are so many other great people that have been working there longer than me that deserve this scholarship. I am just grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this.”

Butler stated that she found the experiences working at Kennywood and Sandcastle valuable.

“I would say that Kennywood works as preparation for the real world in a variety of ways,” Butler said. “For most teenagers in the area, including myself, this is our first job. In my little time already spent there, I have learned so much about myself and others, how to handle difficult situations, working with others and in the food department. I already have a better sense of who I am and how I can help others.”

Butler finds that working at Kennywood involves a need for responsibility, leadership, hard work and honesty.

“Of course, there have been times when the work was difficult, but it’s how you handle those times that make you better at not only your job, but as a person,” Butler said.

The Kennywood and Sandcastle scholarship process consists of an application and an essay; after this stage, students are interviewed and undergo scrutiny of their academic, extracurricular and athletic activities.

Butler described the essay theme for Kennywood’s 2017 scholarship

“[The] essay was on a challenge [for] America’s young adults and how Kennywood has prepared me for the world. The challenges that I wrote about were the lack of motivation and initiative that young adults face today and how my leadership skills at Kennywood have helped change these challenges within my team members,” Butler said.

Butler intends to use the scholarship for her academics and plans to attend law school in the future.

As a final statement, Butler explained the take away the she has from working for the amusement park company.

“Kennywood is such a great place to find who you are and meet new people. After finding out who I am and what I wanted to do, I hope that in the years to come, I can leave an impact on my fellow co-workers and they can do the same in following years. I once told a fellow team member that as a young adult, you realize just how important your actions are and how they will impact your future, but what you don’t always realize is the impact you can leave on others,” Butler said

Photos: Butler

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