ADEL and VALDOSTA, GA – First Commerce Credit Union recently awarded four $1,000 MyWay scholarships to credit union members ages 17-29 to help support their higher education pursuits. This is the ninth year First Commerce has awarded scholarships to recognize students who demonstrate excellence in school and beyond. Two MyWay scholarships were awarded to Georgia students and two were awarded in Florida. Kylie Downs from Adel, GA, and Cohen Smith from Valdosta, GA, were selected as this year’s Georgia scholarship recipients.
MyWay Scholarship applications and essays were judged by an independent panel of educators from distinguished institutions of higher learning, including Valdosta State University, Florida A & M University, Florida State University, and Tallahassee Community College. Winners were selected based on criteria including grades, community service, leadership, school activities, and work experience. Each applicant was also required to submit an essay or short video elaborating on their experiences with and approach to money, as well as lessons learned. Scholarships will be paid directly to the student’s chosen institution of higher learning and can be used to help pay for school expenses such as tuition, fees, and books.
“First Commerce is committed to helping our members build strong financial futures,” said Cecilia Homison, First Commerce CEO. “The MyWay Scholarship program empowers our young members to pursue higher learning goals, which can open doors to career opportunities that set them on a path toward long-term financial success.”
About the Georgia Winners
Kylie Downs is a graduating senior from Cook High School who plans to study psychology at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The varsity cross country and soccer athlete has also been involved in a work-based learning program. In her scholarship application, she wrote, “I currently get paid once a month, so learning how to budget was essential to ensure I had enough money to get through the month. With my MyWay Account it is super easy to check how much money I have in my account, especially with the app. Since I always have my phone on me it is convenient to just click an app to check my finances.”
Cohen Smith, a senior at Valdosta High School, will attend the University of Georgia to study Civil Engineering. The dual enrolled honor student and varsity baseball player also gives back to his community. He is currently interning at a law firm. He wrote, “While there are many resources available to help people improve their financial literacy, it is ultimately up to individuals to take responsibility for their financial education and make it a priority in their lives. By doing so, they can create a more secure and stable financial future for themselves and contribute to a stronger and more prosperous economy.”
To be eligible to apply for a MyWay Scholarship, students must have a First Commerce checking account in good standing. First Commerce offers two types of free checking accounts for young adults — SmartStart Teen (available for ages 13-17) and Power Checking (ages 18+). Both accounts offer financial empowerment features such as free online financial education courses, an Automatic Savings Option, no Overdraft Fees, the ability to send and receive money securely through Zelle®, real-time text and email alerts on account activity, credit score monitoring and management, and 24/7 digital banking with mobile deposit. For more information, visit FirstCommerceCU.org/Checking.
Photo Caption: Mary Katherine Adams (right), First Commerce Credit Union Financial Center Manager at Adel, presented Kylie Downs, Cook High School senior, with her 2023 MyWay Scholarship.
Photo Caption : Cohen Smith, Valdosta High School senior and his family.
ABOUT FIRST COMMERCE
First Commerce Credit Union is an award-winning, full-service, #LocalStrong financial institution dedicated to supporting our communities for more than 80 years. Our not-for-profit financial cooperative serves over 70,000 consumer and business members throughout 40 counties in South Georgia and North Florida and has more than $1 billion in assets. First Commerce has 14 financial centers – Three in Valdosta, and one in Adel, Nashville, Ray City, and Thomasville, GA, as well as six in Tallahassee and one in Marianna, FL. First Commerce offers a full array of consumer and commercial products and services, as well as access to thousands of ATMs nationwide through a credit union network, mobile banking, mobile deposit, and real-time text/email account alerts. First Commerce’s products include our Power Checking account packed with powerful perks, such as Paying Interest, Early Payday, No Overdraft Fees, and an Automatic Savings Option; our SmartStart Teen checking account as well as savings accounts, money markets, CDs, IRAs, auto loans, mortgages, home equity loans, identity theft protection, and credit cards. Commercial services include Business Checking, Treasury Services, commercial loans, and business vehicle and equipment loans. In addition, First Commerce offers a comprehensive suite of financial planning and investment services through our subsidiary Six Pillars Financial Advisors, and commercial & personal insurance through First Commerce Insurance Agency. Our FCCU Foundation is dedicated to financial literacy, including free interactive online and in-person workshops on a variety of topics. For details, visit FirstCommerceCU.org or call 229.686.7444 or 1.800.533.5772. Insured by NCUA. Equal housing opportunity lender.