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Credit Unions Around the State Award Scholarships

It's scholarship season! Credit unions, both large and small, around the state are awarding their annual 2015 scholarships. Check out a recap of the latest scholarship recipients below (by credit union). 

Century Credit Union
At its annual membership meeting in April, Century Credit Union (St. Louis) recognized two scholarship winners from its annual scholarship contest. The Louis Kovarik Scholarship for ages 13-15 was awarded to Luke Swaller, of Arnold, for his essay about what he plans to do when he grows up and how his education will help him get there. The William Pauly Scholarship for ages 16-18 was awarded to Sierra Nugent, of Festus, for her essay about challenges she overcame in high school on her path to achieving success in college.

Anheuser-Busch Employees' Credit Union (ABECU), American Eagle Credit Union (AECU) and Purina Credit Union
Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union and its divisions - American Eagle Credit Union and Purina Credit Union - awarded a total of nine scholarships for its 21st annual Young Adult Financial Group Vince Jacknewitz Scholarship program. The winners are: Ashely Rinkus, of East Stroudsberg, Pa.; Sierra Gilfoy, of Mammoth Lakes, Ca.; Julia Schweizer, of Chesterfield; Caroline Kraus of Fenton; Emma Bujnak, of St. Louis; and Lydia Prebish, of St. Louis. 

Additionally, three scholarships were awarded via the credit union’s employees’ family member scholarship program. These were awarded to: Tyler Rosso, of Ballwin; Tenecia Clemmons, of Imperial and Elisabeth Carey, of Skaneatales, NY.

Scholarship winners were selected based on a three-page essay with consideration given to academic merit and extracurricular involvement. Each recipient will receive $1,500 to be used toward college expenses. In addition to these winners, five $75 “Deck Your Dorm” prizes were awarded to high-scoring applicants. 

The scholarship is named in honor of the credit union’s late board member, Vince Jacknewitz, and it has been offered since 1994. The credit union has awarded more than $139,000 to members nationwide via the program.

Vantage Credit Union
As area high school seniors prepare for graduation, Eric Acree, president & CEO of Vantage Credit Union, along with Vantage's Marketing department, hosted a night out at Dave & Busters to award 20 seniors $20,000 in scholarships.

Vantage sites the rising cost of a college education for its continued support of higher education, awarding more than $592,500 in scholarships to area high school seniors over the past 31 years.

“Our credit union was founded on education," says Acree. "We devote a full-time employee to financial education in the schools and are proud to support higher education by continuing to award our Quest For Education scholarships.” 

Each scholarship winner was chosen based on a combination of a student-written essay; honors and awards; participation in extracurricular, community and volunteer activities; employment; required recommendation letters; and credit union membership. Volunteer scholarship judges consisted of local educators, Vantage Board and Supervisory Committee members, and employees. Students from 27 public school districts, nine private schools, and four home schools, in both Missouri and Illinois, applied for scholarships this year. The winners, listed below in alphabetical order by school name, include:

Althoff Catholic High School, Maurice Williams III; Eureka High School, Samantha Powell; Francis Howell North High School, Kacey Tatum; Fort Zumwalt East High School, Alexandra Hucker and Joshua Maurer; Fort Zumwalt South High School, Andi Hudson and Ciara McDaniel; Hazelwood East High School, Taylor Smith; Jefferson High School, Megan Perry; Lafayette High School, Grant Howard and Eric Woytus; Lindbergh High School, Hannah Sartorius; Living Word Christian High School, Claire Chipley; Pattonville High School, Jacob Stahlhut and Aubrey Wenzel; Rockwood Summit High School, Cassandra Hamm; St. John Vianney High School, Ben Rischbieter; St. Louis University High School, Elliott Boerding and Shayn Jackson; and Timberland High School, Brendan Willie.

Community Financial Credit Union
Community Financial Credit Union congratulates Danielle Bode and Riley Griesemer, both of Springfield, as the recipients of the 2015 Linzee W. Leonard Scholarships. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Both recipients were selected from among many highly qualified applicants who were judged in the following categories: grade point average, honors and awards, community activities, extracurricular activities, personal goals/attitudes, and an essay about what Community Financial can do to attract and engage members between ages 18-30.

Danielle is pursuing a masters degree in Biology and aspires to be a researcher.

Riley plans to attend Missouri State University, pursuing a degree in elementary education.

Each scholarship recipient has been involved in numerous school and community activities throughout the past four years, exemplifying Community Financial’s motto of “People Helping People.” Since beginning the scholarship program, Community Financial has awarded more than $37,000 to our aspiring young members.

"These scholarships allow us to help the recipients achieve their educational and career goals," says Vicki Owens, vice president of Communications at Community Financial. "Empowering our young members to succeed is ultimately in investment in our own future."

The Linzee W. Leonard Scholarship was established in memoriam of Linzee W. Leonard, a cherished employee of Community Financial Credit Union who passed away in 1996.

Photo:  Top - Danielle Bode; Bottom - Riley Griesemer

Electro Savings Credit Union
Electro Savings Credit Union recognized its Edward G. Halliburton scholarship recipients at the credit union’s annual meeting on May 19. The scholarship program honors Director Emeritus Ed Halliburton who served on the credit union’s board of directors since 1967. The 2015 Edward G. Halliburton Scholarship recipients are:

  • Rebecca Marcolina, of Ballwin, a Nerinx Hall graduate who plans to study Engineering at Missouri University of Science & Technology. 
  • Erin Nischwitz, of Wildwood, a Lafayette North graduate who plans to study Chemistry at Missouri University of Science & Technology or University of Kentucky. 
  • Zachary Valleroy, of St. Peters, a Francis Howell North graduate who plans to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Missouri - Columbia. 

Since 1993, the credit union has awarded $70,000 to its student members. Scholarship applications are accepted January through February from high school seniors who have been credit union members for at least one year. 

"Offering a scholarship program to our members is another way the credit union gives back to our members while demonstrating that we are supportive of every member's desire to better their lives through education," says Lisa Farnen, vice president of Marketing at Electro Savings. "We need to show our members in everything we do that we don't just preach this but live it. Two years ago we added to our scholarship application the requirement to write an essay on how the credit union can help young people. The reason we changed the essay topic was to reinforce with our applicants all the benefits of being a member of the credit union one person at a time. As a side benefit to this change we have received some amazing ideas on new products and services to offer."

Photo: (from left) Erin Nischwitz, Rebecca Marcolina, Ed Halliburton and Zachary Valleroy

1st Financial Federal Credit Union
1st Financial Federal Credit Union presented two $1,000 college scholarships to St. Louis area students at the 2015 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, April 28.

"One of the best parts of our annual meeting is to get the opportunity to announce the scholarship winners and hear them read their essays," says Carol Minges, chief executive officer at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. "It is interesting to hear about the important difference between credit unions and banks from that generation. We are honored to be able to give them a small scholarship to get them started with their education."

The 1st Financial Right Stuff Scholarship is awarded to an attending college student and 1st Financial member between the ages of 19 and 24. In addition to presenting a recent report card and showcasing their athletic and community involvement achievements, applicants were asked to write an essay on how a credit union can impact its community. This year the Right Stuff Scholarship was awarded to Alexandria Stuart, a current Freshman studying Occupational Therapy at Maryville University. Alexandria plans to graduate in May of 2019.

Since 1996, 1st Financial has awarded the Horizon scholarship to a student with an extraordinary academic history and evidence of a strong presence in their community. This year the Horizon Scholarship was awarded to Stacey Doggett, a senior from Wentzville Holt High School. Stacey plans to attend Truman State University in the fall with an anticipated focus in Business Management.

"I am so thankful for everything 1st Financial Federal Credit Union does for me and the community," says Stacey Doggett. "I am delighted to be able to extend my education for the next four years at Truman State University thanks to the Horizon Scholarship offered by my credit union."

Horizon Scholarship applicants are asked to write an essay about the differences between credit unions and banks and discuss how that difference benefits the writer. In her essay, Stacey wrote:

"Credit Unions are different from banks because they are smaller, community owned, and typically more personable and easier to work with. They care about their local community and the people who are work hard to make it a better place. There is usually less red tape and they can do more things for their members because of this. Also, since credit unions are usually non-profit, instead of taking money for themselves, they give the money back to their members in the form of lower interest rates on loans. For example, after doing some quick research, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union’s current auto loan rate is 2.49%, significantly lower than the 2.99% of US Bank. Credit Unions care about their members and offer low interest rates on loans and  high interest rates on savings."

Photo: (from left) Stacey Doggett, 2015 Horizon Scholarship Winner and Carol Minges, CEO of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union