ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – United Federal Credit Union (UFCU) awarded $5,000 in college scholarships to nine students through its corporate and state programs. UFCU scholarships are granted to outstanding graduating high school seniors based on academic achievement, community involvement, extracurricular activities and an original essay discussing the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.”
$1,000 Corporate Winner – Danielle Villa, Niles H.S. – Niles, MI – Danielle graduates Niles High School with a 3.9 grade point average and will attend Hope College in Holland, MI. She was crowned Miss Niles 2014 and has volunteered with Hope Rescue Missions, Berrien County Human Services Department and singing for senior citizens at nursing homes through Expression Trio. Danielle’s extracurricular activities include soccer, cheerleading and performances in several high school musicals.
Villa stated, “With the many opportunities that I have been given, I have been able to see the true joy that comes from helping others. Throughout my life, I hope to encourage others to lend a hand so that they can become people helping people.”
$500 Arkansas Regional Winner – Mathias Merriwether, Northside H.S. – Fort Smith, AR – Mathias graduates Northside High School with a 3.8 grade point average and will attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He has volunteered with Upward Bound and as a tutor at Mercy Outreach Center. Mathias’s extracurricular activities include band, jazz band, National Honor Society, Leadership Fort Smith and acting as lead musician at St. James Missionary Baptist Church.
Merriwether stated, “I plan to take ‘people helping people’ to the next level through a career in music. I want to pass on my musical abilities and help others with life’s problems through my music and activism.”
$500 Berrien (North) Regional Winner – Kelsey Berndt, Lakeshore H.S. – Stevensville, MI – Kelsey graduates Lakeshore High School with a 4.0 grade point average and will attend Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. She has volunteered with the Assets Advisory Committee, her church and as director of the Little Poms camp. Kelsey’s extracurricular activities include poms, dance (Berrien County Dancers), class council, tennis and National Honor Society.
Berndt stated, “Helping people makes me appreciate all of the good things I have in my life. It reminds me that I’m blessed to have good health, a good family, safety, all my needs met, and that I shouldn’t take all the luxuries I have for granted.”
$500 Berrien (South) Regional Winner – Sarah DeRosa, Brandywine H.S. – Niles, MI – Sarah graduates Brandywine High School as a Top 10 student with a 3.9 grade point average and will attend Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, MI. She has volunteered at a number of high school and elementary school fundraising events as well as community events with the National Honor Society. Sarah’s extracurricular activities also include History Club and participating in the Lakeland Fine Arts Festival.
DeRosa stated, “I always strive to provide the best of myself in order to leave a positive imprint on the world, both environmentally and socially. In exchange, I am allowed to see another side of myself and be enlightened by altruistic acts.”
$500 Holland Regional Winner – Karly Carson, Mona Shores H.S. – Muskegon, MI – Karly graduates Mona Shores High School with a 4.0 grade point average and will attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. She has volunteered with the Hope Project, First Congregational Church and the Red Cross. Karly’s extracurricular activities include orchestra, fiddlers, InterAct Club, KICK Club and National Honor Society.
Carson stated, “We tend to be most satisfied with ourselves when we make the effort to help someone else; therefore, life’s ultimate objective is to follow the philosophy, ‘people helping people,’ in order to become a better person.”
$500 Indiana Regional Winner – David Schell, Griffith H.S. – Griffith, IN – David graduates Griffith High School as a Top 10 student with a 4.2 grade point average and will attend Indiana University. He has volunteered with Life Point Church, Royal Rangers and the annual wheelchair basketball event at Griffith High School. David’s extracurricular activities include DECA, soccer and student council.
Schell stated, “From the poorest of people to the richest of people, “people helping people” is necessary to build up a positive, encouraging society that has been torn down by media and social trends.
”$500 Nevada Regional Winner – Christopher Kareck, Reed H.S. – Reno, NV – Christopher graduates Reed High School with a 3.9 grade point average and will attend the University of Nevada in Reno, NV. He has volunteered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and participated in a number of charity runs to benefit organizations such as the March of Dimes and the Special Olympics. Christopher’s extracurricular activities include cross country, track and ROTC.
Kareck stated, “I care a great deal for people, and I will always help a fellow person in need. In these times, it is important for the advancement of our society to help our fellow man, and I feel honored to participate in that.”
$500 North Carolina Regional Winner – Alexander Millsaps, West Iredell H.S. – Statesville, NC – Alexander graduates West Iredell High School with a 4.5 grade point average and will attend the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC. He currently volunteers with the West Iredell Peer Mentor program and is involved with Beta Club. Alexander’s extracurricular activities include soccer, student council and Young Life.
Millsaps stated, “The philosophy of ‘people helping people’ pushed me to strive to do anything that I was asked of as a peer mentor. It has assisted in molding me into the helpful young leader that I am today.”
$500 Ohio Regional Winner – Hannah Campbell, River Valley H.S. – Caledonia, OH – Hannah graduates as valedictorian of River Valley High School with a 4.0 grade point average and will study nursing at Malone University in Canton, OH. She volunteers with Calvary Baptist Church in Marion and is active in the 4-H Club. Hannah’s extracurricular activities include cross country, track and serving as Vice President of the National Honor Society.
Campbell stated, “The doctors and medical personnel who have helped me have shown great compassion and expertise in the medical field. Nursing will enable me to continue to help others throughout my life.”
Eligibility for scholarships includes active membership at UFCU for at least six months, demonstration of dedication to community service and acceptance into an accredited college, university or trade school for the upcoming fall term.
United Federal Credit Union has served its Members since 1949 by helping them to build a sound financial future. UFCU consists of more than 120,000 Member/owners worldwide, and manages assets in excess of $1.57 billion. Its corporate offices and main branch are located in St. Joseph, Mich., with additional branches in Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio. UFCU has been named the Michigan Credit Union League Outstanding Credit Union of the Year 2013. UFCU has also been named the National Federal Credit Union of the Year 2013 by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.