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Crystal Scholarship Foundation awards $27,500 to eight local students

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (March 12, 2024) – The Crystal Scholarship Foundation is delighted to announce the distinguished recipients of the 2024 scholarships, marking a significant milestone in the foundation’s commitment to supporting local students in furthering their education. Now in its fourth year, CSF will award $27,500 among eight local students – the largest group of students to receive funding in a single year.

The four new recipients, Alexzandria Barone, Aiden O’Dwyer, Ryan Rasmussen and Maya Wilson will receive up to $5,000. The four second year recipients, who originally earned scholarships in 2023, are Mackenzie Breitner, Ryleigh Frisbie, Erin Middleton and Adam Tuthill. All CSF recipients are Crystal Mountain employees or dependents of Crystal employees. Meet the 2024 recipients below.

Alexzandria Barone, a junior at Eastern Michigan University, will be applying to the Occupational Therapy program in June where she will earn a master’s degree to work with young children in either an educational or outpatient pediatric setting. Raised with the motto, “work now, play later,” she puts her all into her studies as well as her faith, and her work at Crystal Mountain at Kinlochen Plaza and on the beverage cart. She said she heard about the scholarship opportunity while working during the Crystal Mountain Scholarship Invitational the last two years. When asked about her reaction to finding out she was one of the 2024 CSF scholarship recipients, she said she cried tears of joy.

“It took me a moment to really process what they had said, but within a second, I did in fact start crying happy tears,” said Barone. “I called my mom and started sobbing over the phone with her because of how happy and proud of myself I was. Going into an interview like that can be scary and I was starting to overthink my answers to the questions, hoping that I said the right things. But all of that changed and I could not have been more grateful and excited in that moment.”

Alexzandria says the money will help pay for her senior fall semester and ultimately allow her to invest more in working her way into graduate school.

Aiden O’Dwyer is a senior at Frankfort High School. As a varsity athlete in baseball, cross country, golf, and skiing, he is not only athletic but driven. His future plans include attending Ferris State University and participating in the Golf Management Program. This program will help him to further his goal of providing athletic opportunities for children. He is currently working as a ski instructor at Crystal Mountain, while also volunteering for Crystal Community Ski Club.   

“I love proving to students that they are capable of seemingly impossible tasks,” said O’Dwyer. “Whether it’s making the first turn, or their fastest race, being a part of the ‘light-bulb moment’ is a phenomenal feeling.”

Aiden says he learned about the CSF scholarship opportunity through Erin Middleton, a 2023 CSF recipient, and it means a lot knowing the Crystal Community is supporting him as he focuses on his future.

Ryan Rasmussen is a junior at Hope College working on a dual major in business and economics. He plans to obtain his certification in financial planning and work in private wealth management. As a senior lot attendant at Crystal Mountain, Ryan is thankful for the connections he has made with members and work peers.

“I was informed of this scholarship opportunity via the prior beneficiaries of the scholarship as well as the August scholarship golf tournament,” said Rasmussen. “I will be able to continue putting my education first thanks to this scholarship, which will enable me to eventually contribute the most to my community.”

After graduation, plans to return to his tennis community and provide opportunities for young children to learn and enjoy the sport.

Maya Wilson is a senior at Traverse City West High School who works at The Roadhouse Mexican Bar and Grill in Benzonia.  She is the daughter of Marla Wilson who is a longtime employee of Crystal Mountain who currently serves as the resort retail buyer. Maya says applying for the scholarship reminded her how much Crystal Mountain has been a part of her life, and she’s grateful the community will continue to support her in the next chapter of her life.

“Growing up on the ski hills and on the golf course and in the pools, so much of my life was lived here,” said Maya. “Being a Crystal kid since before I can even remember has brought me so much joy and opened me up to so many experiences and connections that have most definitely shaped me into the person I am today.”

During her panel interview, she expressed the importance of listening versus hearing, truly a trait beyond her years. Maya plans to attend college this fall to study business with a focus on entrepreneurship.

These students meet the four pillars of the Crystal Scholarship Foundation: solid character, strong work ethic, community service and academic proficiency. The goal is for each of the recipients to continue living up to these four pillars after they receive the scholarship, as Mackenzie Breitner, Ryleigh Frisbie, Erin Middleton, and Adam Tuthill (2023 recipients) continue to do, earning a CSF Second Year award.

Crystal Scholarship Foundation founders and board members say this past year has been incredible thanks to the donors and applicants.

“The Crystal Scholarship Foundation has given out over $70,000 in scholarships since February 2021,” said CSF President, Kim Pickell. “It is truly an honor to be able to award scholarships to our Crystal Mountain employees and their dependents. To all our donors, including Crystal Mountain, we thank you for the trust you have shown in us. There is more to be done! Let’s keep going!”

Crystal Mountain property owners and community leaders established CSF in 2020. The scholarships are funded by generous community donations and the Crystal Mountain Scholarship Invitational (CMSI). This year’s CMSI golf event will take place Aug. 9-10 on the Betsie Valley and Mountain Ridge courses. The deadline to register is Aug. 2. Registration includes food, music, golf challenges and prizes.

In addition to funds raised through golf, generous community donations and merchandise sales, Crystal Mountain has pledged to donate $5,000.

Applicants for the 2025 scholarship can start applying the first week of November. For more information email