Taco Bell

Victoria Bates cuts a piece of cake celebrating her $25,000 scholarship from her employer, Taco Bell, during a ceremony Tuesday evening at Taco Bell on South W.S. Young Drive.

Ariana-Jasmine Castrellon | Herald

A Killeen Taco Bell employee was one of five Taco Bell employees in the nation to win a 2018 Live Mas $25,000 scholarship last week.

Victoria Bates, 19, a Taco Bell shift leader and student at Central Texas College wants to transfer to Texas State University and use her scholarship towards a degree in education in order to become a first-grade teacher. She works at the Taco Bell at 1807 S. W.S. Young Drive in Killeen.

“I love kids and I feel like in order to change the future it starts with the kids. And I feel like I could nurture their minds and I want to create a better generation, and I feel like if I start with the young generation I’ll be successful in the end,” said Bates.

Bates said winning the scholarship came as a surprise.

“It’s just surreal,” she said.

Mike Payne, Taco Bell area coach, said he has been working for Taco Bell for 19 years and supervises eight different locations from Lampasas to Harker Heights.

Payne said there were about 8,000 applicants for this year’s scholarship.

Payne said Bates is always positive.

“I’ve seen her start as a team member and work her way up,” Payne said. “She’s always positive, always bubbly, like no matter what the situation. It may get really busy in the back and we have lot of orders on screen, but she stays the same, the whole way through, always a smile on her face.”

Lisa Alexander, 49, raised Bates as a single mother and said that she always encouraged her daughter to pursue an education.

“My mom always pushed me, college was something that was put into the family very young and I knew that I wanted to go to college very young,” said Bates.

Alexander explained why she believed her daughter was given the scholarship.

“Her personality for one,” said Alexander. “She is very driven. When she believes in something, she goes for it.”

Bates shared why she enjoys working for Taco Bell.

“I like making tacos, I do, I love my job, I love what I do, Taco Bell is just a great company to work for, they really care about their workers and every day when I come in here I’m ready to be taco-tastic,” said Bates.

Alexander shared what she would say to the franchise.

“Oh my God,” said Alexander. “This is an amazing opportunity, truly a blessing, not only for her, but for her family, for giving her this opportunity, believing in her, so I’m really really grateful for Taco Bell.”

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