SPIRE Awards $5,000 in Scholarships, Students Describe Greatest Impact on Financial Decisions

FALCON HEIGHTS, MN (May 27, 2022) — SPIRE Credit Union awarded $5,000 in scholarships to members in both Traditional and Non-Traditional categories.  The five winners will each receive $1,000.  More than 200 applications were reviewed by a team of SPIRE employees, rating applicants on school and community involvement, as well as essays answering the question, “Who or what has had the greatest impact on how you make money decisions? Explain why.”

Lily Gornik’s grandpa was her hero in many ways, including financial mentor.  “My grandpa taught me money is not the end goal, but a means to do good things,” said Lily, “Financial security is important, but not at the expense of people. [He is] the most generous person I have ever met.”  Lily is a 2022 graduate of Mahtomedi High School and will attend University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Qi Zi Rui Zhou said her mother used her weekly grocery shopping to teach money management skills.  “I learned the importance of making financially wise decisions,” said Qi, “My mom has helped guide and set a foundation for me. She’s my role model!”  Qi is a 2022 graduate of Woodbury High School and will attend University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Sydney Abboud “My mom taught me to be intentional about spending; to get what I needed instead of buying something on impulse,” explained Sydney, “She helped me understand the basics for making informed money decisions based on goals.”  Sydney is a 2022 graduate of Eastview High and will attend University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

 Gabe Drayton “’Save, save, save’, repeated my mom around the dinner table,” described Gabe, “At the age of sixteen, there were many things I wanted to buy… I thought back to what my mom always told  me – place half my paychecks into savings.  Now, as a college student, I see the value in these savings.  I do not have to worry as much.” Gabe is from Maple Grove, MN and attends the Northwestern University – Evanston, IL.

Marlina Wilson explained the impact a tragedy with her husband, a military service member, had on their family’s finances, and the ensuing uncertainty it left about their future.  “Never in my life do I want to feel this again,” she said, “I will be financially independent!”  She described the work she put into learning about budgeting, retirement, savings, and financial wellness from various podcasts and books.  “The tragedy we faced was the single greatest impact on how our money making decisions and finances are handled.”  Marlina is from Alexandria, MN and attends Cardinal Stritch.

Since its inception, the SPIRE Scholarship Program has awarded a total of $53,500 in scholarships to 88 credit union members.  “SPIRE’s Scholarship program is a commitment to our core purpose of improving lives, core action of giving back, and supporting future generations of leaders,” said Dan Stoltz, SPIRE President/CEO, “Congratulations to our 2022 winners!”

About SPIRE Credit Union

A full-service financial institution, proudly serving Minnesota and Wisconsin residents since 1934. SPIRE is committed to providing smart products, great rates and excellent service with a goal to improve the financial lives for both personal and business members. SPIRE has 22 branches throughout Minnesota.  To learn more about SPIRE, please visit SPIRE News | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn


Maria Daley
Community Marketing Specialist, SPIRE Credit Union
651.641.2169 | 888.34.SPIRE x2169 |

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