Four Students Selected for CFCU-Sponsored Scholarships May 03, 2021 Each year, in addition to the recently announced Celebrating Volunteers Youth Scholarship, Community First Credit Union helps sponsor four other scholarships that assist students of all ages in pursuing their educational dreams. $500 FVTC scholarship winner Each spring and fall semester, Community First provides a $500 scholarship to a deserving student enrolled at Fox Valley Technical College. This spring’s recipient is Rick Tease of Suamico, a nontraditional student who started taking FVTC business classes in 1993 but re-started his educational journey a couple years ago to prepare him for future promotional opportunities. “Working full-time and going to school can be hard at times, and this scholarship helps ease that burden a little,” said Rick, 45, who has earned a 4.0 GPA while working 48 hours a week as a pre-press lead with LSC Communications (formerly Banta) in Menasha. “Thank you so much for the scholarship; it means a lot to me.” With five children, all of whom were very active in sports, life was pretty busy. “When my kids started looking at college, it had a little spark in the back of my head (about going back). But there was always, ‘Can I make time for it? Will I sacrifice time with my wife or with my kids?’” A business supervisor/leadership program offered by his employer at FVTC in the fall of 2019 prompted him to pursue courses (mostly online during the pandemic) needed to complete his associate degree in Business Management (a year from now). “It kind of sparked me to finish up what I started 20-some years ago,” said Rick, whose youngest is now 17. “My employment goal is to move up into my boss’s position once he is set to retire,” Richard said. “This degree along with the 24 years I have been with the company give me a better chance of doing that.” An FVTC Leadership Development instructor (who provided a reference for Rick) said he was a valuable contributor in class discussions, and he “challenged himself to go outside his comfort zone and apply the skills.” He credited Rick’s commitment and willingness “to conquer the obstacles of online learning besides the other challenges when also working full time.” Three $1,000 scholarships awarded to high school students Community First also joins with other regional credit unions to provide three $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who are members of local credit unions planning to pursue secondary education next fall. The 2021 recipients of the Greater Fox Cities Chapter of Credit Unions’ $1,000 scholarships are: Jacob Anderson, senior at Bay Port High School, Green Bay Kyla Dewick, senior at Wrightstown High School Emily Kling, senior at New London High School All three submitted responses to essay questions about the credit union industry and their community involvement. Community First’s Angela Skrobutanas, AVP Product Marketing and Development, serves on the Greater Fox Cities Chapter of Credit Unions’ scholarship committee and helped judge the 78 applications received. “It has been a difficult year for us all, but seeing these young individuals come up with creative ways to give back to our local communities makes us so proud to be able to recognize their efforts,” Angela said. Anderson, who plans to pursue a Political Science major in the fall, was cited for his volunteerism as coordinator for his school’s blood drive in partnership with the American Red Cross. Since the drive could not be held at the school due to COVID-19 restrictions, he helped find two alternative locations. “I wasn’t going to let a change in circumstances stop us from putting on such an important event within our community,” he said. Once the sites were secured, he turned his attention to making sure the facilities, collectors and donors were as safe as possible. “From implementing strict distancing guidelines and cleaning precautions, we were able to foster a safe environment for all,” Jacob said. The result was “one of our best performing drives.” Dewick, who will pursue a Biomedical Engineering degree at Michigan Technological University this fall, found ways to overcome COVID-19 restrictions to do volunteer service activities at hospitals and nursing homes with other National Honor Society students (she is the group’s president). They produced a video that thanked health care workers and shared it with local health care facilities and their employees. She also designed a holiday poster for a nursing home and produced a social media graphic for the group’s Stick it to Cancer drive, collecting band aids for St. Vincent Hospital pediatric patients. She got involved virtually with two other organizations “dedicated to positively impacting people.” As a Word of Thanks ambassador, she sent cards to healthcare workers and senior citizens. As part of the career development and social media team at CyberWeek.org, she wrote blog articles and designed social media posts that helped students learn about cyber security. “Participating in these volunteer activities allowed me to adapt and still make a difference in my community during the pandemic,” Kyla said. Kling, who will study Business and Spanish at UW-Madison in the fall, was chosen for her volunteer efforts in her hometown. “New London is currently facing an economic recession,” Emily said, due to the pandemic plus a loss of tourism and business traffic from a highway relocation. She volunteered through the local chamber to serve on an Economic Development Committee in seeking ways to boost the local economy. She helped collect information by phone, online research and personal visits from all New London businesses that was incorporated into an application being submitted to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Connect Communities program. If successful, New London will gain access to numerous training and business resources to help downtown businesses and the local economy. By getting actively involved as “part of the solution for my community,” Emily is hopeful a successful application will lead to a long-term community revitalization. “Getting involved with a project I am passionate about has made my senior year unforgettable.” Congratulations to all of these worthy scholarship recipients!