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McDonald’s employee Jania Pollard, 21, of Bowling Green, traded the cash register for a microphone to compete for a chance in the Voice of McDonald’s global competition and the chance to win $25,000.
She is a McDonald’s crew member from the independently owned and operated Carmel Church McDonald’s location in Ruther Glen. There are more than 30,000 McDonald’s crew members in the Baltimore and Washington region, which is the umbrella region for Caroline County in the contest. Pollard is one of the talented U.S.-based employees competing in the contest, and who has a chance to advance to the Voice of McDonald’s global competition, which will be held in Orlando, FL, in April 2014.
The winner will receive $25,000. The second-place prize will be $17,500. Third place will get $12,500 and fourth will receive $7,500.
William Washington, one of the region’s largest owner-operators, owns the McDonald’s where Pollard works. Washington said he is originally from King George, and that he began working for McDonald’s as a crew member when he was 20. He began operating as an owner 12 years ago.
Washington is very proud of his employee, and excited to support her during the duration of the contest. “I hope people go online and vote for her!” he said. Washington admitted that it was quite a shock to find out that one of his employees had gotten so far in the contest. “I think this is going to be a great thing for the community,” Washington said. “It was a surprise to me, but now that we’re all on board, we really need to back her up.”
Pollard noted that she has been singing since she was 7. She sings in church, and has also sung the National Anthem before volleyball games while attending Caroline High School. While attending the high school, Pollard also sang in the Celebration Choir during black history month.
The contest is designed to give its employees an opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for their talent. There are 1.8 million individuals employed by either McDonald’s or its independent owner/operators worldwide.
Pollard said that she never expected to be given an opportunity to compete in a contest like this through her place of employment, when she began working for the company two years ago. Pollard said that when her supervisor told her the news about her selection while on shift, she was beyond excited.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Pollard said. “So I ran in the bathroom and called my friend to tell her!” When asked what she would do with the cash prize, Pollard said that she would like to give some to her aunt for house repairs, buy herself a car, and pursue getting a record deal. “Never mind the money,” Pollard said. “I need a record deal so I can entertain forever!”
McDonald’s flew Pollard to Chicago, where its corporate office is located, to do a professional song recording. Pollard was able to work with a vocal coach during her stay. She was also given a Visa gift card, a no-expense hotel stay, and the opportunity to sightsee with other contestants. “I’m so glad I am able to share this with my McDonald’s family!” Pollard said.
This is the fifth year that Voice of McDonald’s has come to the United States. Talent judges will be narrowing the hopeful contestants down to three individuals.
Once the results of the competition in the United States are in, if Pollard moves on from the semi-finals, she will have the chance to perform in two rounds of the final global competition.
“Jania has worked so hard for this moment and truly deserves this special opportunity McDonald’s has given her to shine,” Washington said. “We encourage our community to vote for Jania and help her achieve her dreams. I know she will make us proud, and we can’t wait to hear the competition results.”
From Oct. 28 through Dec. 2, Caroline County and surrounding area residents can vote for their favorite contestant at www.voiceofmcdonalds.com/voting/usa.