Morrison Family Scholarship Recipient

Meet Shift Leader, Juan Sanchez Velazquez, a past scholarship recipient who triumphed over challenges. Their inspiring journey embodies the impact of Wingstop Foundation’s education support on the lives of first-generation team members! 

Date icon March 15, 2024
Tag icon Education, Feature, Morrison Family Scholarship, Wingstop Foundation

Q: How has being a recipient of this scholarship influenced your perspective on higher education? 

A: Being a recipient of this scholarship influenced my perspective on higher education significantly. Without the support of this, an many other scholarships, I would not have had the opportunity to test my perspective on what I believed college would be like. As a first-generation student, I was able to see that college was not impossible for me and it allowed me to broaden my knowledge, my skills, my experiences, and my connections. 

Q: Were there any challenges you faced as a first- generation scholar and how did the scholarship support you in overcoming them? 

As a first-generation scholar there were lots of challenges that I had to go through. Even the college application process and financial aid application process were a challenge for me. Then, after that, finding and applying for scholarships was a challenge. I feel like having the right people, talking to counselors, advisors, and peers really helped. I believe that finding and using the resources around me helped the most to get through these challenges. After being awarded this scholarship, it took weight off my shoulders as I figured out my financial needs for college. 

Q: In what ways do you hope to pay forward the opportunities you’ve received through this scholarship to future generations or within your community? 

This probably has to be my favorite question to answer! There are so many ways that I dream and plan on paying it forward and give back to my community and future generations. To begin, I already have started this journey of paying it forward. With only one semester completed, I got the opportunity to return to my high school and share my challenges, experiences, and processes in college. I was able to share my experience of applying to college, finding a mentor, and using my resources in high school. Then I was able to talk about my challenges going into college and how I was able to overcome them. I just want my community, who is mostly and directly affected by violence, poverty, and less opportunities to see that if I was able to make it to college and follow my dreams, they could too. I plan on continuing to go back to my community as much as I can by being that help and guide that someone once was for me. To give future generations the motivation that they need to continue working for their goals. I strongly believe I will become a mentor or start a mentorship program in the future in my community. 

Q: How has the scholarship influenced your career aspirations and what impact do you hope to make in our chosen field? 

Funny enough Wingstop was a major influence on the career aspirations that I have and why I chose the major that I am in. Working for Wingstop for almost two years my junior and senior years of high school made me practice and gain many skills. My major skills that I grew while being a shift lead were leadership, communication, patience, and hospitality. I was very patient when resolving issues, I loved talking to customers, and being a leader in the eyes of my coworkers and management to where I established long term connections and friendships with many of them. This made me want to go into the Hospitality and Tourism Management industry to continue providing people with great experiences. I hope to make an impact on anyone who doesn’t realize that there is hospitality everywhere we go, whether we are the ones to provide it or receive it. This is something that everyone does already, and I just want to show how far we can get when practicing these fundamental skills in hospitality. 

Q: How do you navigate the balance between academic commitments and personal responsibilities and how has the scholarship played a role in this? 

Scholarships have played the biggest role in balancing my academic commitments and personal responsibilities. They allowed me to settle in, giving me a break the first semester from working. They ultimately allowed me to avoid a lot of stress, a lot of work, and this helped me focus more on my academic commitments at first. I strive to plan for everything to balance all my academic commitments as well as making sure to do all my personal responsibilities. 

Q: Looking ahead, what advice would you give to Wingstop Team members that are future 1st generation scholars who aspire to follow a similar path? 

Looking ahead, I would advise Wingstop Team members that are future first-generation scholars who aspire to follow a similar path as me to go for it. I go a lot by the quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” by Wayne Gretzky. I would tell them that we only live once and if we don’t attempt to make the impossible, possible, then what truly is our purpose. I would also advise them to really dive into research to find as many resources as possible to help them get to where they need. This scholarship is one of those resources that many Wingstop Team members might not know about. I would advise them to simply follow their heart and to set their minds to what they’re truly passionate about. 

Q: Is there any one you would like to recognize and thank for their support during your post-secondary educational journey and how did their guidance shape your path?  

There are many people that I would love to thank and that I have already but not enough for all that they have helped me. To begin I would like to recognize my parents. Their hard work and dedication to provide my siblings and I with a great future is finally paying off. They sacrificed everything, leaving behind their normal lives in their home country to bring us here where they knew we had a greater opportunity in life. I would also like to recognize and thank my mentor Frank, who guided me through the college process, was a huge support for staying on top of important things, and ultimately was the reason why I was awarded the scholarships that I received. He opened new doors for me, took me on a road trip from Northern California to Southern California to tour colleges, and I had great fun and memories with him. I have so much to thank him from the bottom of my heart. Finally, I would like to recognize the incredible friends and peers who have been by my side through this journey and who believed in me and motivated me to do great things. All of this, and my own hard work and determination, shaped my path from early in my life to where I will ultimately end up. 

Q: Is there a fun fact that you would like to share?  

A fun fact about me is that I have flown a plane! 

The Morrison Family Scholarship benefits Wingstop team members that are looking to pursue four-year undergraduate degrees, two-year associate degrees, and post-secondary technical or trade certifications. Team members that are awarded this scholarship receive funds to support post-secondary education tuition, fees, and books.