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ESL Awards $10K in Scholarships to Five Local High School Students

Rochester, NY — ESL Federal Credit Union awarded five college-bound high school students with scholarships tonight, during a reception at ESL’s corporate headquarters, 225 Chestnut Street in Rochester, N.Y. The winners each received $2,000 from ESL’s College Scholarship program.

This year’s scholarship award recipients include high school seniors:

  • Marith Anderson, Rush-Henrietta High School
  • Mary Katharine Brushafer, Lima Christian School
  • Griffin Cross, Pittsford Sutherland High School
  • Emma Michels, Brockport High School
  • Samantha Waidl, Our Lady of Mercy

“By awarding scholarships to deserving college-bound students, ESL invests in the future,” said Faheem Masood, President & CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union. “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 have been:

  • A member in good standing at ESL Federal Credit Union
  • A high school senior in the Greater Rochester area during 2017/2018 school year
  • Attending accredited college or university in the Fall of 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, and a list of extracurricular activities and community service. In an essay, students wrote about how they demonstrate one of ESL’s core values — accountability, caring about people, initiative, integrity, and teamwork — in their lives.

2018 Scholarship Recipients

Marith Anderson, Rush-Henrietta High School
Marith faced many challenging obstacles in the beginning of her high school career that resulted in missed days of school and placed a significant amount of stress on her academics, However, Marith showed outstanding perseverance, and proved with strength and initiative that she was able to rise to the top of her game once again. As a senior, she participates in in the Celtic Music Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra and Bel Canto Singers. She is also a member of the Tri-M National Music Honor Society and has been a member of the National Honor Society. When asked about Marith, school counselor Jeff Mangini indicates “she is always supporting of her peers and genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of others. 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.”

Mary Katharine Brushafer, Lima Christian School
Compassion and desire to help those in need are apparent in Mary Kate’s exceptional volunteer work. Specifically, after the death of her best friend’s dad, Mary Kate was inspired to start the Santa Hat Society. This 501C3 not-for-profit provides Christmas wishes for children who have suffered painful devastating circumstances. In 2017, the organization raised $17,000 and provided gifts to 18 families. Mary Kate demonstrates ESL’s core value of caring about people. Additionally, Mary Kate has earned high honor roll status during most of her high school career.

Griffin Cross, Pittsford Sutherland High School
As a member of the National Honor Society (NHS) and Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, Griffin maintains NHS status while volunteering and leading various community service activities. Griffin’s exhibit’s ESL’s core value of initiative which is demonstrated successfully through his work developing ROCKidsCONNECT, an urban-suburban student exchange program. Griffin submitted and received a grant to fund the launch of the program that supports diversity, community collaboration, problem solving and leadership development. According to Rochester Kids, “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. Griffin has devoted many weekends and afterschool time raising money and working towards a larger societal goal.”

Emma Michels, Brockport High School
Inspired by other patients while in the hospital herself being treated for Cystic Fibrosis, Emma exhibited the ESL’s core value of caring about people. The good friends she made while facing that challenge inspired her to establish the first ever high school branch of Hippies for Hope. Hippies for Hope is a non-profit organization working to spread positive energy to children locally by donating a tie-dyed shirt to a child in the hospital for every tie-dye shirt sold and also donates money to an international children’s educational fund. “Emma Michels is a kind, ethical creative and talented individual,” according to Daniel W. Izzo, Brockport High School English Teacher. “She has distinguished herself here at Brockport and left an enduring legacy.” Emma maintains a 98% GPA earning her a ranking in the National Honor Society, Excelsior Society and Thespian Society.

Samantha Waidl, Our Lady of Mercy
As a high honors student with a strong interest in math and science, Samantha makes time to give back to the community and clearly demonstrates ESL’s core value of initiative for change. She 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. As a member of Mercy’s National Honor Society and the recipient of numerous academic awards, Samantha demonstrates her intellectual gravitas in a variety of setting and situations,” according to Emily Cady, director at Our Lady of Mercy.

About ESL Federal Credit Union

Founded by George Eastman in 1920, ESL Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution with $6.2 billion in assets. The locally-owned financial institution employs more than 750 people in Rochester, New York, and includes approximately 348,000 members worldwide.

The company has now appeared on the Great Place to Work® Best Small & Medium Workplaces list for seven years (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, and 2010). Access to the credit union includes 21 branch locations and more than 40 ATM locations, locally-based telephone and Internet chat centers, and online and mobile banking channels. The company is headquartered at 225 Chestnut Street in Rochester and can be found on the Internet at

For more information, contact:
Rich Pulvino
Manager, Corporate Communications
Carla Mancuso-Spano
Senior Account Supervisor
Tipping Point Communications
585.340.1119; Cell: 585.317.9268