(Contributed graphics)

John’s Crazy Socks Announces Winners

Sixth annual “Autism Can Do” scholarship

John’s Crazy Socks has announced that Lukeson Ashbourne of Maplewood, NJ is the winner of the company’s sixth annual “Autism Can Do Scholarship.” The announcement was made to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, which celebrates the uniqueness of every individual on the spectrum and to educate more people about autism, promoting acceptance and inclusion. The month of April is also designated as World Autism Month.

As the first-place winner, Ashbourne will receive a $5,000 scholarship. John’s Crazy Socks will also produce his winning sock design “Reach for the Stars,” which will be sold on their online store. A portion of sales from her his socks will be used to fund next year’s Autism Can Do Scholarship.

Ashbourne is currently a freshman at Bloomfield College of Montclair State University in New Jersey, majoring in Traditional Art (2D Animation). In his first semester, fall 2023, he received a 4.0 GPA and currently holds a 4.0 GPA for the spring 2024 semester.

Ashbourne, an African American male, has been on the autism spectrum since he was three years old. When he was younger, Ashbourne had difficulty making friends because of his limited speech. However, through his passion for art, he learned to accept who he is. Ashbourne’s sock design represents a message that anyone of any race and disability can reach for the stars.

“As the winner of the Autism Can Do Scholarship, I am committed to being a source of inspiration and giving back to the community. Taking part in this scholarship will mark a partnership in my educational journey as it will also mean that people with autism can succeed through higher education. In the future, I look to serve as one of the examples of people with autism who excelled through higher education and beyond,” said Ashbourne.

“The Autism Can Do Scholarship is a key component in furthering our mission of empowering people with differing abilities and showcasing their many talents. With this scholarship, we encourage everyone with autism or a differing ability to show their many talents and how they are making an impact in the world every day. On behalf of everyone at John’s Crazy Socks, we applaud all the winners and applicants and wish them continued success as they embark on their college journeys and next steps in their careers,” said Mark X. Cronin, co-founder of John’s Crazy Socks.

The second-place winner, Emrys Alfaro Haugen of Olympia, WA, will receive a $2,500 scholarship for his “Tic-Tac-Toe” sock design.

Third place winner, Elyse Miller of Farmington Hills, MI, will receive a $1,000 scholarship for her “You are Pear-fect” socks.

The John’s Crazy Socks “Autism Can Do” Scholarship presents $8,500 in total scholarships to persons on the autism spectrum in the United States or Canada to use at a college or trade school. It is co-sponsored by the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism and Rangam.

Winners of the scholarship had to complete a brief form, submit a personal statement and design a pair of socks. A selection panel that included people with autism and representatives from all three sponsor organizations carefully reviewed the more than 300 applications before selecting the winner.

John’s Crazy Socks created the “Autism Can Do” Scholarship as part of its Giving Back Program and to further its mission of highlighting the many skills of people with differing abilities.

More than half the employees at John’s Crazy Socks have a differing ability and many of them are on the autism spectrum.

For more information about John’s Crazy Socks and their Autism Can Do Scholarship, please visit

About John’s Crazy Socks 
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. With more than 4,000 socks, John’s Crazy Socks is now the world’s largest sock store. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $750,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™. For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage:

—Submitted by John’s Crazy Socks

Just Getting Started

Kevin James Thornton’s super second act

By Amanda Olsen • May 10, 2024


Dining guide-spring
  • No events