Desert Financial Credit Union marked 15 years of its Community Service Scholarship this week by awarding nearly $50,000 to 15 Arizona high school seniors. The students were recognized at a dinner held at the Desert Financial Papago Conference Center on May 15 where they learned their scholarship award total, which ranged from $2,500 to $7,500. In addition, students learned that their scholarships would be available to renew in their sophomore year with community service hours met, and received an iPad to assist with college coursework. 

The 2019 scholarship pool, $47,500, represented a record total awarded by Desert Financial. The 15-person recipient list was also an increased number and a milestone; the number acknowledges the original 15 educators who founded Desert Financial 80 years ago this month in 1939. 

The Community Service Scholarship program is open annually to members of the credit union and their related family members, seeking to reward exceptional students who have contributed 50 or more hours of service in the community. This year saw some recipients contribute nearly 500 hours of service. 

“We were founded in the spirit of volunteerism,” said Jeff Meshey, President and CEO of Desert Financial. “Recognizing these exceptional students helps reaffirm our values and commitment to helping others.” 

Scholarship winners include: Dylan Duggan, Paradise Valley High School; Delylah Gardea, Mayer High School; Skylar Gilmore, Red Mountain High School; Evan Grace, Maricopa High School; Cameryn Kisthardt, Chandler High School; Samantha Lozano Rodriguez, Western School of Science and Technology; Joshua Molloy, Eduprize High School; Fhernanda Ortiz, Glenview College Prep; Addlena Paredes, Bioscience High School; Kyle Polen, Chaparral High School; Terry Smith, Buckeye High School; Vanessa Tipescu, Campo Verde High School; Victoria Tipescu, Campo Verde High School; Steven Trinh, North Point Prep; and Ian Westover, Bioscience High School.

Of the 2019 group, Vanessa and Victoria Tipescu were awarded the highest honor, receiving $7,500 each toward their freshman year at ASU, where they plan to pursue an education in nursing. Both sisters volunteered extensively at a local elementary school, as well as a school for special needs students. At the May 15 event, they shared that they enjoy volunteering because they love helping people and making their lives easier. 

“It’s an honor to recognize students like Vanessa and Victoria each year,” Meshey continued. “Each of our recipients has a bright future ahead of them.”

High school seniors interested in applying for the 2020 Community Service Scholarships are encouraged to visit the Desert Financial website to learn more.

Application requirements include:

      Completing 50+ hours of community service in 2019

      A 3.0+ cumulative GPA

      Plan to attend an in-state college or university in the fall

      Be a Desert Financial member (or related to a member)

      Show a demonstrated financial need based on Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)