Applications for First Trust Credit Union’s 2020 scholarships now accepted, trades included

Curtis Hankins
By: Curtis Hankins Last Updated: February 14, 2020

First Trust Credit Union announced that they are now accepting applications for their 2020 Scholarship Program. The program offers eight $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors in Michigan City, La Porte, Valparaiso, and Wheatfield. Each branch in these locations will award two $1,000 scholarships.

The first of the two scholarships will be awarded to any graduating senior pursuing a four-year degree, while the second will be granted to a senior seeking an apprenticeship, associate degree, or certification in their selected field. Originally forming for La Porte County school employees in 1959, First Trust Credit Union finds it only natural to support students in the community.

“It’s just a really nice way to honor these students and what they’ve accomplished,” said Dorene Martinson, Marketing Director for First Trust Credit Union. “It’s nice to be able to offer this to students in each community where we’re located so they can further their education. It’s one of the ways First Trust gives back to our communities.”

The program is unique in that students pursuing trades and careers that might not require a college degree are awarded for their efforts, too.

“Many students think scholarships are just for bachelor’s degrees,” Martinson said. “That’s probably typical for most scholarships out there, but we offer both bachelor’s degree scholarships and special scholarships specifically for students who are not pursuing four-year degrees.”

Martinson has been fortunate to present some of these scholarships to students in previous years and always loves seeing the pride on the winners’ faces.

“Students are always very excited,” she said. “I usually award one or two of the scholarships each year, so I’ve had the opportunity to do it several times. It’s really rewarding to get up on the podium and publicly highlight what the students have achieved  both in school and within their community.”

Each applicant is required to put together an essay and secure a letter of recommendation from an educator. This ensures winners are chosen for their scholastic achievement, and their character and community involvement as well.

“One of the core values of credit unions, in general, is to be involved in our communities,” Martinson said. “Our main philosophy is ‘People helping People,’ and that applies to credit unions across the board.”

This year, First Trust is also offering a one-time scholarship in honor of Dennis Knaup, a long-time Board Member of First Trust Credit Union and retired Michigan City Teacher. This $1,600 award is available to one high school senior graduating from Michigan City High School who is planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education.

All applications are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 16th. To learn more about First Trust Credit Union’s 2020 scholarships, visit Applicants must be a member of First Trust to be eligible. Students who are not current members can easily open a savings account at any local branch, which would then qualify them to apply for a scholarship. Students must live or work within LaPorte, Porter, Jasper, Newton, or Pulaski counties to be eligible for membership.