Paint and Decorating May 2014 : Page 62

P D RA N O W YOUR CONNECTION TO THE COMMUNITY OF PAINT AND DECORATING RETAILERS Quick Study PDRA Scholarship Winner Is a The 20-year-old Tennessee student is thankful for the prize and for the relationship she has with her boss, the retailer who nominated her. The proud paint and decorating family at Columbia Paint & Wallcover. Left to right: David Sanders, Zach Maddux, Alison Walters, Zeke Maddux and Robert Fabre. W hen PDRA member Zeke Maddux hired high schooler Alison Walters to work at his paint store in Columbia, Tenn., he thought he knew what he was getting. “We keep an [index card] system of all the paint we mix,” said Maddux. “We originally KLUHGKHUMXVWWRÀ OHWKRVH:KHQVKHVWDUWHG working, we realized she was capable of much, PXFKPRUHWKDQÀ OLQJ:HJRWKHUVWDUWHGRQ mixing paint and selling wallpaper. She has a great attitude and is a quick learner.” Alison—or Ali, as she’s known to the staff at Columbia Paint & Wallcover—worked for the store while she attended Columbia Central High School. She worked there again at various times, even after she headed off to Knoxville for classes at the University of Tennessee and when she returned home to attend Columbia State Community College. 62 Ma y 2014 PDR Winner Alison Walters

PDRA Scholarship Winner Is a Quick Study

The 20-year-old Tennessee student is thankful for the prize and for the relationship she has with her boss, the retailer who nominated her.

When PDRA member Zeke Maddux hired high schooler Alison Walters to work at his paint store in Columbia, Tenn., he thought he knew what he was getting.

"We keep an [index card] system of all the paint we mix," said Maddux. "We originally hired her just to file those. When she started working, we realized she was capable of much, much more than filing. We got her started on mixing paint and selling wallpaper. She has a great attitude and is a quick learner."

Alison—or Ali, as she's known to the staff at Columbia Paint & Wallcover—worked for the store while she attended Columbia Central High School. She worked there again at various times, even after she headed off to Knoxville for classes at the University of Tennessee and when she returned home to attend Columbia State Community College.

Early in 2014, Maddux was reminded that the PDRA awards a scholarship to a deserving student. Soon after, Maddux met his friend Dan Simon, Paint & Decorating Retailer's publisher, who gave the retailer details on the $5,000 prize.

"I met Dan at a Lancaster show," said Maddux. "I'd known there was a scholarship offer, but just didn't really remember what it was about. I think I saw a sign or something and asked him about it and said I had a girl who worked for me who I wanted to nominate."

The nomination came late in the process. Walters and Maddux got their paperwork in just before the March 2014 deadline.

When Alison heard that she'd won the scholarship, she was on campus at Columbia State. Someone with a phone number she didn't recognize repeatedly called her cell phone. "I was sitting in a study session, and I kept getting these calls," she said. "I never have my phone out [while studying], so I took it out and saw the calls were from Missouri."

She knew the PDRA office was located in Missouri and thought the call might be about the scholarship. "I jumped up, ran into the hall and answered." It was the PDRA's Simon on the line.

At first Alison thought he was calling to console her. "He said 'We appreciate your applying' or something like that, and I thought for sure he was going to say that I'd lost."

Instead, Simon told her the opposite: She'd won the $5,000. "I started running around in circles," said Alison. "I mean, $5,000 is just so much."

The college at which Alison will use the scholarship money is still in question, but she has two chief candidates: The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in Memphis, or East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City. She wants to be a dental hygienist, and both schools offer bachelor's degrees in the field.

Alison is especially thankful for the PDRA award money because the programs at both schools might turn out to be expensive. She said both programs require students to buy a $3,000 kit and other dental tools, such as a $750 pair of loupes, which are small spectacles with lights on them.

Wherever she ends up going to college, Alison is thankful for her opportunities. "Working at Columbia Paint & Wallcover has been one of the biggest blessings of my life," she said. "You really couldn't ask for better people to work for or with."

Read the full article at http://digipubcloud.com/article/PDRA+Scholarship+Winner+Is+a+Quick+Study/1707134/208525/article.html.

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