ChoiceOne Bank awarding $20K in scholarships this year

Sparta, Mich.-based ChoiceOne Bank is awarding $20,000 in scholarships this year as part of its annual ChoiceOne Scholarship Essay Contest. 

The contest provides needs-based $1,000 scholarships for graduating seniors in the communities ChoiceOne serves. This year, 14 winners were chosen from 10 community high schools. The bank is also honoring a half-dozen renewable scholarships from the former Lakestone Bank & Trust, after the bank completed its merger into ChoiceOne in 2020. 

(Photo courtesy of ChoiceOne Bank)

“Families are the heart of our communities, and we are committed to their well-being,” said ChoiceOne Bank President Michael Burke, Jr. “Seniors are our next generation of leaders. This contest always helps them realize the benefits of being raised and educated in a caring and supportive community. We have been offering this contest for many years now, and it’s always an enlightening experience for all of us to hear from our students.”

The contest began in January and ended in March. More than 160 students participated. Applicants submitted a 500-word-or-less essay about one of their community service experiences, describing their motivation, who benefited and how they personally grew. The contest was open for high school seniors, GED recipients who had not begun college classes in the current calendar year, and home-schooled students with documentation of high school equivalency and college eligibility. The contest was open to high schools across ChoiceOne’s footprint, which covers 35 locations in west and southeast Michigan. Students had to plan to attend either a two- or four-year accredited college in Michigan this fall.   

“We believe it takes a community to raise a family and we take great interest in helping our youth,” Burke said. “As parents, it is our hope that our students return to their roots to raise their families and grow their businesses. Writing this essay for a potential scholarship helps our youth understand the importance of community service wherever they live.”

2022 winners include:

  • Kate Lossing – Yale High School
  • Ryan O’Neal – Richmond High School
  • Shelby Wetherford – Imlay City High School
  • Olivia Livingston – Imlay City High School
  • Rachel Lauwers – Imlay City High School
  • Maxwell Datsko – Lapeer High School
  • Jasper Gugino – West Ottawa High School
  • Kassidy Borgman – Saugatuck High School
  • Ashtyn Hinz – Byron Center High School
  • Aiden Armstrong – Byron Center High School
  • Pablo Vicario-Reyes – Kelloggsville High School
  • Thien Anh Hoang – Kelloggsville High School
  • Sara Sietsema – Sparta High School
  • Kierstin Parker – Cedar Springs High School