TUCSON, Ariz. — In a recent competition open to eligible Mister Car Wash employees and their dependents in 21 states, Mister Car Wash awarded 22 scholarships totaling $25,000 in tuition funds, according to a press release.

“At Mister Car Wash, we’re all about inspiring people to shine, and we believe in investing in education,” said John Lai, CEO of Mister Car Wash. “Our outstanding scholarship class of 2017 has impressed us that they each have what it takes to attain their goals and make this world a better place.”

Out of 88 scholarship applications received, Mister Car Wash awarded 19 checks for $1,000 and three checks for $2,000, the release noted; to earn one of the scholarships, eligible applicants were asked to answer three essay questions.

In her winning essay, the release continued, Central Michigan University journalism student Taitum Male of Wyoming, Michigan, talked about a recent mountain climbing expedition she experienced in New Zealand with 13 other honor students and two professors, saying that the experience gave her valuable insight into herself, the nature of others and the mission of Mister Car Wash: Inspiring People to Shine.

“Inspiring other people always starts with ourselves,” wrote Male. “When we understand who we are, we can then help others become the best versions of themselves. Through this self-reflection and leading by example, we inspire people to shine.”

Another Mister Car Wash scholarship recipient, Filmon Hailu of Brandon, Florida, wrote, “Being the first person in my family to go to college, my main long-term goal is to get my bachelor’s degree within the next four years. I want to become an engineer and work with computers and technology, being that it has always been a passion of mine.”

Hailu also wrote about how working at Mister Car Wash has helped him shine, saying, “I’ve learned communication skills, leadership skills and learned that no matter what, the customer is always right. These traits have helped me when making life decisions on and away from the worksite because knowing how this business works allows me to understand in depth how other businesses work.”

Before working at Mister Car Wash, the release stated, 2017 scholarship recipient Rafael Fontanez, also from Brandon, Florida, had only one goal: to graduate high school.

Now, he intends to get a four-year degree, and his Mister Car Wash scholarship will help him obtain that goal, the release noted.

Fontanez wrote, “Mister Car wash has been very helpful and flexible with my schedule, so when I start college in the fall, I will continue to work full time, taking early morning classes and going to work in the afternoon.” He added, “I enjoy what I do, and wherever life takes me as far as my education in the next few years, I will have Mister Car Wash to thank for providing me a place to work and ‘shine.’”

Awarding tuition scholarships to deserving students like Taitum Male, Fimon Hailu, Rafael Fontanez and 19 other employees this year is part of Mister Car Wash’s broader Inspiring Futures program, the release added.

For more information, please visit http://mistercarwash.com/community/.

Presented below are the names, cities and colleges of all 22 members of Mister Car Wash’s Scholarship Class of 2017:

  • Melanie Hernandez – Bakersfield, CA – Taft College
  • Kelsey Brockman – Bakersfield, CA – California State University
  • Madison LaTurno – Ozark, MO – Missouri State University
  • Taitum Male – Wyoming, MI – Central Michigan University
  • Joshua Boot – Wyoming, MI – Grand Valley State University
  • Eric Weiss – Sandy, UT – Utah Valley University
  • Bryson Martinez – Abilene, TX – Abilene Christian University
  • Hanna Bynum – Abilene, TX – Texas Tech University
  • Jacob Polak – South Milwaukee, WI – University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
  • Nishith Kusukuntla – Madison, WI – Full Sail University
  • Eduardo Ballesteros – Tucson, AZ – Pima Community College
  • Carina Spurlock – Saint Paul, MN – Inver Hills Community College
  • Gabriel Carreon – El Paso, TX – The University of Texas at El Paso
  • Gabriella Licari – Tampa, FL – The University of Florida
  • Filmon Hailu – Tampa, FL – Hillsborough Community College
  • Rafael Fontanez – Tampa, FL – Hillsborough Community College
  • Robert Rodriguez – Orlando, FL – University of Central Florida
  • Skyler Sternes – Orlando, FL – Valencia Community College
  • Brandi Klick – Orlando, FL – Valencia Community College
  • Rebekah Belkin – Orlando, FL – Seminole State College
  • Harmony Sartwell – Severn, MD – Anne Arundel Community College
  • Kevin Bautista – Austin, TX – Austin Community College

According to a separate press release, just in time for back to school season, Mister Car Wash has completed its distribution of 2,500 school supply kits to employees in 21 states.

Thrilled by the popularity of this initiative among its employees last year, Mister Car Wash leaders were eager to offer it for the second consecutive year, the release continued.

“At Mister Car Wash, we consistently invest in employees who are passionate about expanding their knowledge, and our goal with this particular initiative is to set up students for success throughout the school year,” said Ciera Lopez, community relations specialist for Mister Car Wash.

Online requests for the school supply kits streamed in this summer, the release noted; Mister Car Wash processed the orders at its Tucson headquarters, and students received their kits in time for the first day of school.

Tailored to younger and older students, the school supply kits took the shape of bright blue Mister-branded backpacks stuffed with standard school supplies plus some fun surprises, including a Mister-branded, color-changing water bottle.

“I’ve been told by many of our employees that their children especially got a kick out of the color changing water bottles and Mister coloring pages we put in the kits this year,” explained Lopez. “These kids — and their parents — were definitely excited and very appreciative to start the new school year off with free supplies from Mister Car Wash.”

The second annual school supply kit giveaway is part of Mister Car Wash’s broader Inspiring Futures program, the release concluded.