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$3,000 awarded in scholarships

May 7th, 2024

Four well-rounded students from local schools earned scholarships from Century in this year’s competition.

The credit union awards scholarships in two age categories – 13 to 15, and 16 to 18 – making it unique in the St. Louis area . Plus, the competition is open to those who don’t have an account with the credit union.

“We firmly believe in fostering educational opportunities and supporting the dreams of young people,” said Joshua Wallace, president and chief executive officer of Century Credit Union. “Our scholarships embody our commitment to nurturing academic growth within our community,”

Writing and submitting a written essay factors into how the winners are chosen, but other criteria are also meticulously evaluated, such as:

  • The student’s grade point average;
  • Academic achievements;
  • Extracurricular involvement at school;
  • Demonstrated leadership; and
  • Volunteer service to the community.

Each age group was given a different topic to write about, with younger teens asked to address whether they would rather be rich or famous. If rich, what would they do with the money? If famous, how would they handle the demands of being famous, and how would they possibly use their fame to promote specific causes? Older teens had to identify five values they deemed more significant than financial wealth, and explain why.

Every year the competition is very tough, and this year was no different. Twenty-eight schools, including one home school, were represented this year. Due to the high number of entries received in each category, the credit union awarded two $500 scholarships in addition to two $1,000 scholarships.

The scholarships are named in honor of two past board directors.

Louis Kovarik Scholarship Recipients

Emma Thomas, an 8th-grader at Assumption Parish School, showcased remarkable academic prowess while being heavily involved in extracurricular activities at school and doing volunteer work.

In her thoughtful essay, she eloquently articulated her preference for wealth, highlighting the opportunities it provides, including making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.  

All factors led to her earning a $1,000 scholarship, which she will use toward tuition at Notre Dame High School in the fall.

Lily Huffhines, a freshman at Notre Dame High School whose academic achievements and active participation in extracurricular activities exemplify her commitment to excellence, earned a $500 scholarship.

Lily is deeply engaged in community service. In her essay, she prioritized wealth over fame, stemming from her belief in the transformative power of money to effect positive change. She understands that while money itself may not buy happiness, it can serve as a tool to create happiness through meaningful impact. Lily envisions using her wealth to address pressing societal issues, such as poverty, homelessness, and environmental degradation. Moreover, she recognizes the potential of fame as a platform to amplify her advocacy efforts, such as racial equality, environmental conservation, and the protection of all life forms. 

William Pauly Scholarship Recipients

Daniell Hemler, a senior at Lutheran High School South, was honored with a $1,000 scholarship for her outstanding achievements, both in the classroom and in her community.

She was active multiple years in her school’s Key Club, Swim Team, Theater Company, Wind Symphony, and Welcome Team. She assumed leadership roles within the National Honor Society and as a devotional Kairos class leader, earning the respect of both peers and faculty alike.

Demonstrating her multifaceted leadership, Danielle enriches her community as a dedicated member of the leadership team at her church, where she selflessly contributes to the youth group. Overall, she gave 184 hours of community service to initiatives such as the Special Olympics, two mission trips, Vacation Bible School, a Theater Summer camp, and an event for young adults with special needs.

In her poignant essay, Danielle eloquently articulated her values, placing emphasis on community, love, and service to others over material wealth. Her profound insights reflect a maturity beyond her years, affirming her understanding of the essence of human connection and compassion.

This fall, Danielle will be furthering her education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where she will pursue a degree in psychology. With a noble ambition to become a pediatric occupational therapist, Danielle envisions a future dedicated to uplifting children in need and empowering them in their daily lives.

Olivia Holman, a senior at Seckman High School, earned a $500 scholarship. She has consistently excelled academically and will graduate this spring with not only a high school degree but an Associate of Arts degree from Jefferson College. She’s bound for Mizzou in the fall to pursue a degree in marketing.

As a member of the Distributive Education Club of America (DECA), she developed her leadership, career readiness, and business skills. Beyond academia, her dedication extends to community service. She has been involved in a church group for the past four years and served as a leader at a two-week camp to enrich the lives of children and foster their spiritual growth.

Olivia’s essay resonated deeply with the scholarship committee, reflecting her profound values and perspectives on what truly enriches life. She eloquently expressed the importance of faith, family, health, and friendships, emphasizing that true wealth lies in love, connection, and gratitude.

Congratulations to all four winners! All were honored at an awards ceremony held during our annual membership meeting on April 24, with their proud parents in attendance,

We extend our gratitude to everyone who applied, and we wish all of them the very best in their future educational pursuits.

Since awarding our first scholarships in 2004 and every year since then, we’ve given $32,000 to 43 local students.