Burger King owners, Debbie Sena and Jay Della Monica, awarded over $30,000 in scholarships to Nassau County students on Aug. 2 at 21 E. Merrick Rd. in Freeport. Two Freeport High School Class of 2019 graduates — Elizabeth Hasting, 18, Ethan Burrell, 18 and current employee, assistant manager, Jaquelin Portillo, 21, were awarded $1000 for their college tuition and books.
Burger King’s McLamore Scholarship was created in memory of the company’s co-founder, James McLamore. It has awarded over $35 million in scholarships to more than 33,000 high school students, employees and their families since 2000. In 2018, the BK Mclamore foundation awarded $3.7 million to more than 3,400 students, according to the foundation website.
Before recognized by Sena and Della Monica, students and their families gathered in the restaurant dining area to enjoy a courtesy meal.
“I’m excited [to get this scholarship] because college is so expensive,” Hasting said. “When I found out I got the scholarship I was so relieved and happy.”
Hasting shared her plans to study fashion merchandising at the State University of New York College at Oneonta. Burell said he was shocked when he heard he was receiving a scholarship from Burger King. But he was “thrilled” to get the help to pay for his tuition.
Burell is an aspiring state senator and with a laugh, he said meeting Senator John Brooks is one of the reasons he is inspired to one day run for senate.
“Hopefully, down the line, I can take [Brooks’] seat,” he said. “If he will let me.”
Portillo is a second-year Nassau Community College student studying liberal arts. When she’s not running to class, she’s running to work at the fast-food chain. She’s the first in her family to attend college. With her second year about to unfold, Portillo, a Freeport High School alumna said she was fortunate to have an employer willing to invest in her education.
“This is an opportunity for me,” Portillo said. “Not everybody gets the opportunity to go to school and not all [employers] offer this type of opportunity to pay for school.”
Jamaica Estates, Queens student, Mashaba Hossian, also an employee at the Floral Park Burger King received a $5,000 scholarship.
After receiving their certificates and flowers, Sena and Della Monica presented the scholarship recipients with a congratulatory cake to commemorate their achievements.