Congratulations to the Spring 2015 Montana Bankers Blog Contest Winners!

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Spring 2015 Montana Bankers Financial Scholars Blog Contest! Montana Bankers Association and its participating member banks asked all Montana students who completed the EverFi Financial Literacy program to share their thoughts on the impact the course has had on their lives and the financial decisions they’ll make as they strive for their dreams in the future. We were astounded by the incredible submissions we received this semester — their stories were truly inspiring.

After receiving over 70 entries from students across the state who completed the online financial education course, our committee has chosen three winners, each of whom will receive a $500 award! Congratulations to our 3 final winners, Mecaila, Emma, and Brooklyn. Here are their stories:

Winner #1
Mecaila M.
Wolf Point High School, MT
Sponsored by Montana Bankers Association and First Community Bank
I plan to attend Minot State University in pursuit of a bachelor degree to become a registered nurse (RN). As well as a Bachelors degree, I plan to achieve a concentration in Photography and Addiction Studies. After receiving my Bachelors in Nursing, I want to further my education by receiving my masters in nursing while working as a Registered Nurse. After college, my goal is to obtain a full time career in nursing. I want to work at a smaller hospital because it allows me to further my education to all aspects of the medical field, including the Emergency Room, Obstetrics and general patient care. I look forward to working with all types of people from newborns to elderly people. I am very excited to pursue my passion in helping people through nursing.

Participating in the First Community Bank Financial Scholars Program has been more than helpful. I am fully prepared to handle any situation that will come to me after high school. Although I had already filled my FAFSA out, the course helped me by explaining exactly what I had filled out and what everything meant. I learned what the best options for saving money are and how compounding money over time will help me succeed. One of the most helpful things that I learned was credit card protection. I never realized that it was so easy to have your identity stolen. I enjoyed the interactive parts of this program, because it allowed me to see if I completely understood the subject that I had learned. Overall, I am glad that I took the time to complete this program, for I see it being beneficial to me after high school.

Winner #2
Emma H.
Bozeman High School, MT
Sponsored by Montana Bankers Association and Big Sky Western Bank

During high school, I have dreamt of what college would be like, what friends I would make, where I will go, what to do with my life. But rarely did I stop and think about how to get there and when I am there, how to pay. My father always advised that I take as many courses in financial literacy as possible. As soon as college letters came in we sat down, made a plan, looked at what money I had, and what I needed. It was a wake up call. Getting accepted wasn’t the hardest part. To me, receiving the Montana Bankers Financial Scholars Blog Contest award could mean the opportunity to be one enormous step closer to attending my dream college of Boise State University.

I am a people person, and feel connected to those who face the burdens of poverty or other barriers. Throughout school I have volunteered at local homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and assisted with events to benefit my community. I plan on majoring in Public Relations or Political Science. The political world fascinates me and one day I want to continue to advocate for people in need. Through scholarships, grants, and my part-time job I aspire to graduate college with little to no debt. This opportunity would help me become closer to that goal and continue my path of education to one day help inspire myself and those around me to adhere to a lifestyle that can be debt free. Being a part of the Montana Bankers Financial Scholars program has already done so much for my personal life. It has taught me how to plan for retirement, invest early, be smart with my money, and understand how to continue a debt free lifestyle for the rest of my life.

Winner #3
Brooklyn F.
Charlo High School, MT
Sponsored by Montana Bankers Association and Community Bank

Growing up is all about responsibility and preparation. Like anything else, we need a plan to work towards and accomplish our goals. One of my goals in life is to attend college and become a biomedical engineer. Although financial education may not be the first thing that comes to mind, individual qualities such as organization and useful management of time, equipment, and money are all necessary to successfully obtain and maintain this occupation. The Community Bank Financial Scholars Program has motivated me to start early with finance, create budgets, and make wise decisions where money management is concerned.

Through this program, I have discovered how important and delicate finance is. I learned how to set goals and achieve them. I even realized how decisions now affect me later on and how to select the best banking options for me. Before taking the course, I had multiple bank accounts and credit cards, all of which I barely knew anything about, aside from how to withdraw money. Now I am able to balance my checks, make deposits and transactions, and keep track of my money. I make smarter purchases and conserve additional amounts of money for college.

Armed with these crucial life skills, I am now confident that I will make beneficial decisions that will help me buy a home, secure my dream job, and stay clear of debt. This program has not only taught me how to manage my money and set high goals but to start good saving habits and develop my skills. The Community Bank Financial Scholars Program has educated me in more ways than I previously thought imaginable. I would recommend anyone, young or old, to take this online course. The Community Bank Financial Scholars Program has undoubtedly made an impact on my life and changed my perspective regarding my future.