Eight students energize the Cooperative Credit Union Association in its effort to tackle the challenges facing financial literacy

MALBOROUGH, MA (June 8, 2017) — Credit union officials, educators and family members recently assembled in Marlborough, Mass., to hear how eight middle-school students view the importance of financial education and the influence it exerts in helping adults to successfully manage their finances.

The eight students, all chosen as winners of the annual Massachusetts Credit Union Student Essay Contest, were being honored for their words of insight and wisdom, in addition to their mastery of the subject matter, grammar and punctuation.

This year’s contest, sponsored by the Cooperative Credit Union Association, saw its President/CEO Paul Gentile welcome the statewide winners and their guests to the recognition luncheon.

In his remarks, Gentile stressed the importance of financial education, a conviction shared among all credit unions. As author of the popular booklet, “15 Reasons Why You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union,” Gentile likewise emphasized the importance of financial literacy, pointing out how vital it is for people of all ages if they hope to be successful in managing their finances and saving for their retirement years.

This year, the essay topic was “Save. Spend. Share. Learn. What could you teach an adult to form better savings and spending habits? Please provide practical advice to adopt sound plans and to avoid poor behavior.”

While all students noted the importance of budgeting in their essays, each addressed a distinct aspect of planning for the future, such as the importance of paying off credit card balances monthly, distinguishing between wants and needs, tracking expenses, setting long-term savings goals, and preparing for retirement.

The consensus of the contestants was that financial literacy is part of a life lesson; all the decisions you make now lead to how well you do in life.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito took time to applaud the students by providing each with gubernatorial citations. In addition, lawmakers in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate representing each student’s home town praised their student constituents with personal messages and legislative citations. Students also received an award certificate from CCUA as part of the ceremony.

Allison Sciarratta, an 8th-grader from Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington, placed first in the contest with her essay. Sciarratta was sponsored by the Metro-Boston Chapter and Naveo Credit Union.

Finalists in the completion included:

Julia Brazeil

Grade 8, Overlook Middle School

Sponsor: Central Mass. Chapter and GFA Federal Credit Union 

Emma Dominy

Grade 7, Hanscom Middle School

Sponsor: Tri-County North Chapter and Hanscom Federal Credit Union 

Mia Houle

Grade 8, Clinton Middle School

Sponsor: Central Mass. Chapter and Leominster Credit Union 

Kunsopheary Kang

Grade 8, B.F. Butler Middle School

Sponsor: Tri-County North Chapter and Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union 

Alyssa LeBlanc

Grade 8, Clinton Middle School

Sponsor: Central Mass. Chapter and Leominster Credit Union 

Mahir Sowad

Grade 8, Oak Middle School

Sponsor: Central Mass. Chapter and Shrewsbury Federal Credit Union 

Jason Taylor

Grade 8, Mountview Middle School

Sponsor: Central Mass. Chapter and Worcester Credit Union

The annual Massachusetts Credit Union Student Essay Contest invites credit unions and chapters from throughout the state to collaborate with local schools in soliciting student participation in the essay writing contest focused on financial literacy. More than 700 essays were submitted this year as part of the competition.

Emma Dominy, Allison Sciarratta, Alyssa LeBlanc, Mia Houle, Jason Taylor, Julia Brazeil, and Mahir Sowad. (not present: Kunsopheary Kang)

About Cooperative Credit Union Association

The Cooperative Credit Union Association is a regional trade organization serving as the voice for nearly 180-member credit unions located in the States of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. CCUA member credit unions hold combined assets in excess of $73 billion and serve a collective membership base of more than 4.7 million consumers. Last year, CCUA credit unions provided more than $500 million in direct financial benefits to their members and had a combined financial impact of over $5 billion on their states. For more information, visit


Carole Langiu

More News