Jared Thomas, an employee at Taco Bell in Ooltewah, was awarded the 2017 Team Tacala Scholarship.  According to his mother Jacinda Thomas, Jared is very shy. However, he has found friends at Taco Bell, where he has worked for almost two years.  Because of his hard work, he was promoted to a Team Trainer position although he was still in high school.  Many of his trainees are older than he is. 

Jacinda said, "Jared was in danger many times of failing in school and almost didn't graduate in 2017, because he thought school was boring.  He had no friends and wouldn't answer to teachers when called upon.  His teachers thought of him as awkward, therefore in the 9th grade he was tested for autism, recommended for counseling and medication.  Jared has never been diagnosed an autistic.  He struggled through high school earning a grade-point-average of only 2.1."

She continued,  "Jared still had aspirations of going to college.  What many people didn't know about the shy, tall, quiet kid was that he was very artistic.  Jared loves to draw and create graphics on his computer.  He volunteers for ART120 and got some artwork published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He got accepted to Nossi College of Art in Nashville, Tennessee and will be majoring in Graphic Design.  The Team TACALA scholarship is a good fit for Jared, because the scholarship is not based on GPA.  It was based on his answers on how working at Taco Bell has had an impact on his life,  and the challenges he had to overcome."

All of us at WRCB congratulate Jared on this honor, and wish him much success in the future.