ESL Federal Credit Union recently awarded $10,000 in scholarships to five college-bound students during a reception at its corporate headquarters on Chestnut Street in Rochester.
Each high school senior received $2,000 from ESL’s college scholarship program.
This year’s scholarship award recipients are Marith Anderson, of Rush-Henrietta Senior High School; Mary Katharine Brushafer, of Lima Christian School; Griffin Cross, of Pittsford Sutherland High School; Emma Michels, of Brockport High School; and Samantha Waidl, of Our Lady of Mercy.
“By awarding scholarships to deserving college-bound students, ESL invests in the future,” said Faheem Masood, president and CEO. “In some cases, these scholarships can be a deciding factor for students and their families. Our ESL college scholarship award makes the college investment a bit easier, and recognizes exemplary student success and service to our community.”
To be eligible, applicants must be a member in good standing at ESL Federal Credit Union, a high school senior in Greater Rochester during the 2017-18 school year and attending an accredited college or university in fall 2018.
More than 190 applicants competed for these awards by providing official copies of their transcripts, letters of recommendation from a school official and community/volunteer organization, as well as a list of extracurricular activities and community service. In an essay, students wrote about how they demonstrate one of ESL’s five core values: accountability, caring about people, initiative, integrity and teamwork.
Anderson participates in Celtic Music Ensemble, chamber orchestra and Bel Canto Singers. She is a member of Tri-M National Music Honor Society, and was a member of National Honor Society.
“She is always supporting her peers and genuinely concerned about the well-being of others,” said Jeff Mangini, school counselor. “I think that Marith makes a positive contribution to our school community through her engagement in the classroom and her willingness to help classmates in any situation.”
Brushafer started the Santa Hat Society, a nonprofit that provides Christmas wishes for children who suffered devastating circumstances. The organization raised $17,000 in 2017, and provided gifts to 18 families. Brushafer earned high honor roll status for most of her high school career.
Cross, an advanced placement scholar with distinction and NHS member, developed ROCkidsCONNECT, an urban-suburban student exchange program. He submitted and received a grant to launch the program that supports diversity, community collaboration, problem solving and leadership development.
“What distinguishes Griffin is his ability to step out of his comfort zone, his own community and activities that directly benefit him to connect with kids who don’t look or act like him,” a representative from Rochester Kids said. “Griffin has devoted many weekends and afterschool time raising money and working toward a larger societal goal.”
Michels established the first high school branch of Hippies for Hope. The nonprofit organization works to spread positive energy to children in the hospital by donating a tie-dyed shirt for every tie-dye shirt sold, and donates money to an international children’s educational fund. Michels maintains a 98 percent GPA, earning her a ranking in NHS, Excelsior Society and Thespian Society.
“Emma Michels is a kind, ethical creative and talented individual,” said Daniel Izzo, an English teacher at Brockport HS. “She has distinguished herself here at Brockport and left an enduring legacy.”
Waidl, a high honors student, created a process to recognize LGBTQ youth in schools with an optional training for faculty.
“Samantha is the kind of student that teachers love to teach,” said Emily Cady, director at Our Lady of Mercy. “As a member of Mercy’s NHS and the recipient of numerous academic awards, Samantha demonstrates her intellectual gravitas in a variety of setting and situations.”