Faculty-bound highschool college students in Massachusetts had been requested to finish essays in regards to the intrinsic worth of neighborhood banks for an opportunity to win a scholarship from North Easton Financial savings Financial institution.
By Paul Sisolak
The testimonials written by native highschool college students had been price their weight in gold to North Easton Financial savings Financial institution.
“I consider these banks, who dedicate their work in the direction of the financial prosperity of a singular state or county slightly than the income of a global company, possess an immensely important place,” one pupil wrote. “They permit their clients to not solely put money into themselves, however of their neighbors, too. They assist a neighborhood to work in the direction of a typical objective of bettering everybody’s lives, which is a high quality many bigger banks lack.”
“We get actually insightful solutions about how they obtained their first financial institution accounts as youngsters, or how they used it to save lots of their babysitting cash or from working at Marylou’s [Coffee].”
—Aileen Zec, North Easton Financial savings Financial institution
This is only one excerpt from an essay contest sponsored by North Easton Financial savings Financial institution in South Easton, Mass., which lately invited native highschool college students to reply the query, “How do neighborhood banks profit society, and the way have they impacted your neighborhood?”
College students who sought faculty scholarships this yr by way of the $1.4 billion-asset neighborhood financial institution had been required to jot down the essay as a part of their utility. North Easton Financial savings Financial institution’s scholarships totaled $40,000, and college students from 14 space communities had been eligible.
Little issues make a distinction
“We’re so happy with this system,” says Aileen Zec, North Easton Financial savings Financial institution’s govt vp and chief working officer, including that 2022 was this system’s fifth yr.
The scholarship utility committee, which has grown from two members to 6, first considers what candidates intend to main in, with “extra weight in the event that they’re going to review enterprise, or advertising, or one thing within the enterprise realm,” Zec says. However the committee additionally locations a lot significance on candidates’ essays about their experiences with neighborhood banks—typically way back to early adolescence.
“We get actually insightful solutions about how they obtained their first financial institution accounts as youngsters, or how they used it to save lots of their babysitting cash or from working at Marylou’s [Coffee],” Zec says. “Generally the essays will mirror attending the [Norton High School] Credit score for Life Truthful or speak about once they had been younger and going to the financial institution with their mother and getting a lollipop. It’s actually these little issues that make a distinction.”
Honoring the wordsmiths
Zec remembers that in 2021, the neighborhood financial institution had funds earmarked and prepared, however as a result of native highschool lessons weren’t in particular person, the financial institution had some hassle getting the phrase out to college students. Zec and her associates due to this fact determined to ship college steering counselors bank-branded water bottles, “simply so we may very well be prime of thoughts to encourage college students to succeed in out to us.”
This yr, she says, produced a significantly better exhibiting of functions now that on-site lessons have resumed.
The pandemic additionally meant an awards ceremony was not attainable for 2021’s scholarship recipients, so college students videotaped digital thank-yous for the financial institution. Nonetheless, says Zec, “this yr, we obtained to see everybody in particular person, which was a particular deal with. We obtained to see [which colleges] everybody was going to. It means that you can get to know them and put a face with their utility.”
Wealthy Spencer, North Easton Financial savings Financial institution’s president and CEO, mirrored on the prospect to satisfy with the scholarship recipients this summer time. “Yearly, I eagerly stay up for assembly with native college students at our scholarship presentation ceremony,” he says. “Studying from the subsequent era empowers us all to continue to grow, finding out and reaching.”
Zec says the essay contest is all the time gratifying, as a result of it enlightens the neighborhood financial institution a few youthful era’s standpoint on neighborhood banking. “Getting a perspective on how banking is within the opinion of somebody who’s a young person—how the financial institution is impacting the neighborhood—is an effective solution to gauge if what we do is resonating with folks,” she says.
Of their scholarship essay, one pupil essay winner mentioned North Easton Financial savings Financial institution’s dedication to and monetary assist for native nonprofits, together with the Mansfield Hornets Youth Soccer and Cheer, the place they’re a volunteer pupil coach.
“[The community bank’s] financial sponsorship has allowed the group to safe mandatory objects and gear, similar to protecting soccer helmets and new uniforms for the cheerleaders,” the scholar wrote. “I’m now conscious of what it takes to run a nonprofit group of this magnitude, and the generosity of North Easton Financial savings Financial institution definitely makes it simpler and advantages our native neighborhood and youth.”
Paul Sisolak is a author in Minnesota.