A total of $5,000 in scholarships were awarded to five SPIRE Credit Union members in both Traditional and Non-Traditional categories. The SPIRE Scholarship Committee reviewed nearly 80 entries, rating applicants’ school and community involvement, as well as essays answering the question: “How do you work to develop and maintain healthy financial behaviors?” The scholarship winners shared the following advice:
Hannah Davis believes that earning an income is the most important part of having healthy financial behaviors, and she has worked hard to have steady income despite her young age. Next, she explains that budgeting income and expenses is key to maintaining financial stability. Hannah is a 2020 graduate of Hinckley-Finlayson High School, and will be attending Hamline University in the fall.
Rebecca Schuetz takes a three-pronged approach for managing finances: working, budgeting, and prioritizing. Currently working two jobs, with plans to seek on-campus employment this fall, she explains the importance of budgeting and spending less than she earns. She has learned from her parents the importance of thinking about financial actions and behaviors, and sacrificing short-term gains for long-term benefits. Rebecca is a 2020 graduate of Eden Prairie High School, and will be attending George Mason University in the fall.
Nathaniel Webster explains how, starting at the age of six, he began earning income by picking up miscellaneous jobs around the house and at his dad’s workplace. He learned valuable money lessons throughout his childhood, including the gratification that comes from saving for financial goals. Throughout his high school career, he worked several jobs and individually funded three international trips organized through his school and church. Nathaniel is a 2020 graduate of Pine City High School, and will be attending Brigham Young University in the fall.
Melody Shyrock draws parallels between financial and physical health, explaining how staying educated on methods for maintaining financial stability builds ‘financial muscle.’ She also believes the financial journey does not end with a single goal or achievement, and, just like physical health, there are many “plateaus” along the way. Her parents taught her that plateaus are a sign you have reached another level of development; it is not a stopping place, but rather a resting place before moving onto the next opportunity. Melody is seeking a Master or Arts in K-12 Visual Arts from Bethel University St. Paul.
Zachary Arco outlines four key, healthy financial practices: budgeting, avoiding unnecessary expenses, working hard at everything you do, and giving. Passionate about financial freedom, he’s managed to remain free of any college debt going into his senior year. He and his wife budget, predicting monthly income, then allocating to foreseeable monthly expenses. He explains how easy it is to lose sight of small expenses, like eating out and non-essential items. Lastly, he stresses the importance of giving back to those in need, and finds this one of the most important healthy financial behaviors a person can practice. Zachary is seeking a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
Since its inception, the SPIRE Scholarship Program has awarded 78 scholarships for a total of $43,500 to credit union members. “Having spent the past 13 plus years dedicated to personal finance education among youth and adults, I’m so proud of our scholarship winners and their well-defined financial wellness strategies,” says SPIRE Market VP of Community Outreach Bridget Petersen, “These students surely have bright futures ahead of them. I’m honored to help SPIRE award member scholarships, embracing the SPIRE philosophy of improving lives and giving back to community.”