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Crystal Scholarship Foundation awards more than $23,000 to local students

March 22, 2023

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. (March 22, 2023) – Now in its third year, the Crystal Scholarship Foundation (CSF) will award more than $23,000 to deserving local students. Four new recipients were selected to receive up to $5,000 this year, plus the two recipients from 2022 will receive a Second Year Award. All CSF recipients are Crystal Mountain employees or dependents of Crystal employees.

Mackenzie Breitner is currently a student at Alma College and upon graduation will pursue her PhD in pharmaceutical drug design. In addition to her school work, she is a member of the Alma choir, heads the diversity division for the International Genetically Engineered Machine team, and represents the Scots on the golf and wrestling teams. Mackenzie’s stepmom, Amy Breitner, has been a graphic designer at Crystal Mountain for 13 years, and Mackenzie started working at the resort last summer as a bartender at The Thistle and Level Four.

“When I was a junior in high school I made a promise to myself to do everything in my power to get through my education without taking out loans,” said Mackenzie. “Thanks to this generous scholarship and working 50-60 hours a week in the summer, I can continue on to my first year of graduate school with more focus on my studies instead of money stress. I am eternally grateful for this.”

Mackenzie will graduate from Alma this May, debt free and one year early. She continues to apply to PhD programs across the country and will use the scholarship money wherever she is accepted.

The second recipient is an employee at Crystal Mountain’s Peak Fitness Center, as well as in the recreation department and tickets and rental. Ryleigh Frisbie, a graduate of Benzie Central High School, is currently attending Northwestern Michigan College where she plans to be accepted into the nursing program. Her passion for caring for others extends beyond the classroom. Ryleigh has gone out of her way to speak with legislators about the trials of kinship care and what families need to care for their children and keep them out of foster care. As a youth leader in at Kensington Church in Traverse City, she spends many hours engaging with kids and encouraging them to explore outside their comfort zone.

The next scholarship recipient is a senior at Central Michigan University pursuing a double major in Family Studies and Psychology. Erin Middleton performs in the classroom and on the slopes as she is a member of the CMU Honors Program and a ski instructor at Crystal Mountain. Despite working four days a week teaching lessons at Crystal and coaching with the Crystal Community Ski Club, Erin is on track to complete her undergraduate degree in December, and will continue working towards her master’s degree in social work.

“This scholarship money will help me fulfill my capstone research and set me off on the right foot towards my goal of becoming a counselor working with married couples and children,” said Erin. “When I found out I was one of the recipients I was surprised, but proud of myself, and thankful I work for a place that has provided many opportunities to benefit my future.”

Erin is also a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and has helped out with Special Olympics and the Armory Youth Project in Manistee.

The fourth and final first-time CSF recipient is Adam Tuthill, an aviation student at Northwestern Michigan College who will begin flight school this summer. His short term goal is to earn a bachelors in aviation management, and eventually become a commercial pilot. Not only is Adam fond of his future career, but also his current work at Crystal Mountain as a lot attendant. He is often the first person guests interact with when they arrive at the resort, which is why Adam says he strives to make every encounter positive and memorable.

While each of these students have vastly different backgrounds and future plans, they all 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 did Megan Gydesen and Craig Seger (2022 recipients) who will be rewarded with a Second Year Award this year.

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

“The 2023 Crystal Scholarship Class Members are amazing, all very different in their majors, minors and life experiences, but all are driven in following their passions and see the value of family - including their Crystal Mountain Family,” said CSF President Kim Pickell. “Each has expressed their gratitude not only for the scholarship but for the support from Crystal Mountain and all the donors who have made the scholarship awards possible. And to each donor, as well as Crystal Mountain, CSF Board Members echo that message; without your support, these awards would not happen and for that, we are extremely grateful.”

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. 11-12 on the Betsie Valley and Mountain Ridge courses. The deadline to register is Aug. 4. 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 2024 scholarship can start applying the first week of November. For more information email

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Event and Recipient Photos: HERE

About Crystal Scholarship Foundation:
The Crystal Scholarship Foundation (501c3) was created to provide scholarship opportunities for Crystal Mountain employees and their dependent children. Scholarships worth up to $5,000 toward a university, college or trade school certification program are awarded annually.

The Crystal Scholarship Foundation searches out candidates through an application and panel interview process who exemplify solid character; strong work ethic; community service and academic proficiency.

About Crystal Mountain:
Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 1,500-acre resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, shopping, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only alpine slide, Peak Fitness, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings, a conference center, and real estate options.

Learn more about becoming a Four Seasons Club member.

Media Contact:
Brittney Buti Primeau
Manager of Public Relations
Direct: 231.378.2091


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