Scholarships & Awards

As a community based, not-for-profit financial institution, CFCU is passionate and committed to helping our members, youth, and communities succeed on many levels. With the costs associated with higher education nearly insurmountable for some, we are pleased to offer scholarships to aid local youth. We also offer a Community Service Award, because we greatly value giving back to our communities through volunteerism and want to recognize exceptional youth who donate their time and care to help others.

2022 Recipients

CFCU proudly continued its support of local area students striving to better themselves and our local communities. In 2022, we awarded over $40,000 in Scholarships and Awards to high school graduates!

Your success is our passion!

Community Service Award

Graham Morris - Lehman Alternative Community School            

"Graham cares deeply about community, from helping individuals in need to assisting with larger projects that help a whole group or strive to make meaningful social change." 

- Jon Raimon

Richard V.V. Stringham Scholarship

Sophia Bennett - Southern Cayuga Central School

"She is nothing short of an incredible human being. She leads with grace and poise; her peers look up to her and admire her because she is selfless and kind.

- Elishia Hoatland

Joseph Borst Jr - South Seneca High School

"Joey emulates life lessons learned at home, clean living, honesty, and patriotism; his family is committed to service." 

- M. Theresa Lahr

Finnegan Buckley - Ithaca High School

"Personally, Finn is the type of person one would want for a son: ethical, honest, motivated, ambitious, caring, and responsible. he is non-judgmental, open-minded, and sincere... clearly one of the sincerest young men whom I have had the pleasure to know and teach in the past fifty-one years." 

- Frederick Deppe

Joseph Cataldo - Cortland Jr./Sr. High School   

"It is very rare in my career that I meet a student with the aptitude, enthusiasm, and perseverance that Joseph possesses." 

- Charles Canestaro 

Alexandria Costich - Homer High School                                                                    

"Resilient, unassuming, patient, kind, independent, self-starter, disciplined, strong, and empathetic; these are the first words that come to mind when I think of Alex."

- Serena Wadsworth

Henry Deitcher - Ithaca High School   

"He is a born engineer, curious and full of creative ideas, and passionate about helping people and finding solutions." 

- Steve Weissburg

Adowyn Ernste - Ithaca High School                                                        

"She is passionate, knowledgable, and curious about so many topics and she uses this information, these observations, this humor in poetry, cartoons, short films made with friends and also opinion pieces included in the Tattler, our school newspaper." 

- Janet Bowman

Faith Flood - Charles O. Dickerson High School

"It is the constant positive attitude with which she approaches everything she does, the maturity she exhibits, and the leadership that she models for her peers." 

- Jon Koeng

Sayed Ghazanfari (Masih) - Southern Cayuga Central School                                                            

"Masih is a student who when through experiences I can only imagine to get to where he is currently and has not for a second wasted any of the opportunities that have come his way." 

- Peter D. Bakija

Alexandra Gier - Cortland Jr./Sr. High School

"Alexandra will be successful in whatever career path she chooses because she is innately curious, intelligent, self-motivated, and morally sound in character and integrity." 

- Carol Brafman 

Helena Griffin - Newfield High School

"She is a person to whom her peers naturally turn for guidance and is respected by everyone who knows her." 

- Charles Githler

Madelyn Guido - Cortland Jr./Sr. High School

"Madelyn has shouldered additional responsibilities every year to ensure that her classmates are able to have enjoyable and memorable years while at Cortland High School." 

- Melissa Norman

Gavin Hotchkin - South Seneca High School                                                    

"Gavin has continuously picked the path less traveled and has challenged himself by not only taking the challenging coursework we have to offer, but also has participated in many extracurricular activities."

- Sean Green

Lazim Jarif - Ithaca High School

"Overall, Lazim's curiosity, honesty, vulnerability, critical thinking skills and quick thinking are hard to find in a student his age. I believe these skills will serve the medical field well." 

- Megan Omohundro

Peter Jesch - Homeschooled 

"One of his goals and greatest passion is to conserve and protect our natural resources. His continued leadership for the Finger Lakes Conservation 4-H club, his letter to Senator Schumer, numerous 4-H awards for outstanding project work and his own personal choices support these values." 

- Brenda Carpenter

Kate Keresztes - Ithaca High School 

"Kate is the bass player in our Jazz Ensemble. It takes someone who is fearless, humble and self-motivated to play the instrument well. I don't know of any young person who is better suited to this role than Kate." 

- Michael Treat

Mariah Loehr - Ithaca High School   

"She knows how to relate to many different students in the group to include them in a friendly, understated yet affirming way." 

- Suzanne Nussbaum

Ava Mendez - Ithaca High School   

"Ava's  leadership and active participation in the community is just as inspiring as her presence in the classroom." 

- Patrick Hovey

Braeden Morrison - Marathon Jr./Sr. High School   

"Sports give him a good outlet to be able to come up with different strategies that help assist the team." 

- Jenny Camenga

Colby Sellen - Southern Cayuga Central School   

"I have confidence that he will excel at the college level academically while maintaining a position as a role model and example to his peers." 

- Peter Bakija

Clara Tagliacozzo-Lee - Ithaca High School   

"The skills she has demonstrated, coupled with her sound emotional development, will easily be translated into success wherever she goes." 

- Lana Craig

Booke Tillotson - Marathon Jr./Sr. High School

"Her effervescent personality, her work ethic, and her talents are bar to none." 

- Sandra M. Jennison

Madeleine Wang - Herricks High School   

"Since she has transferred to us from upstate New York, Madeleine has quickly plugged herself into the Herricks community and has made a strong impression as an outgoing, kind, and talented woman." 

- Joseph Lee

Mason Zoner - TST Ptech Academy 

"Mason makes the most of the opportunities he is given and works hard to make sure he lives up to the expectations he has set for himself." 

- Jonathan Gordon

Violet Zoner - Charles O. Dickerson High School   

"Violet combined photography and baking to create an extremely professional food blog. She created and continues to build content for the site which includes recipes, stories as well as her beautiful images." 

- Paul Wlech

Previous Recipients


Richard V.V. Stringham Scholarships:

Alexa Angulo-Stevenson - Charles O. Dickerson High School
Jackson Crocker - Dryden High School
Kaley Driscoll - Southern Cayuga Central School
Matthew Eckstrom - Cortland Jr./Sr. High School
Kirsten Fielding - Fayetteville-Manlius High School 
Irene Hwang - Ithaca High School
Evelyn Kim - Ithaca High School
Wisteria Kirk - Southern Cayuga Central School
Shaylyn Nair - Ithaca High School
Heidi Nydam - Dryden High School
Hannah Partigianoni - Cortland Jr./Sr. High School
Max Rubenstein-Miller - Ithaca High School
Diva Shirvastava - Ithaca High School
Alexis Stiles - McGraw High School
Henry Storch - Cortland Jr./Sr. High School
Skandan Subramanian - Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Sr. Secondary School
Nick Thurston - Southern Cayuga Central School
SAwyer Tierney - Ithaca High School
Saba Weatherspoon - Ithaca High School
Morgan Wilcox - Lansing High School
Abby Wilder - Lansing High School 

Community Service Awards:

Hannah Fitzgerald- McGraw High School
Sean Kennedy - Southern Cayuga Central School 
Emily McFadden - Geneva High School


Richard V.V. Stringham Scholarships:

Kathryn Aumick - Cortland Jr./Sr. High School
Samantha Benzel - Cattaraugus Litle-Valley High School
Kaley Driscoll - Southern Cayuga Central School
Gwenyth Gisler - Lansing High School
Morgan Haaf - Ithaca High School
Pearl Hettich - Cortland Jr./Sr. High School
Sidonie Lazarus - Ithaca High School
Cameron Lemberg - Ithaca High School
Matthew Luby - Newfield High School
Margaret McCurdy - Charles O. Dickerson High School
Caelan Murphy - Dryden High School
Suong Nguyen - Ithaca High School
Lauren Reeves - Groton Jr./Sr. High School
Averie Roberts - Groton Jr./Sr. High School
Jacob Schmidtt - Southern Cayuga Central School
Cora Smith - Waverly High School
Evelyn VanNess - Charles O. Dickerson High School

Community Service Awards:

Tyler Abbott - Southern Cayuga Central School
Paige Euson - MarathonHigh School


Richard V.V. Stringham Scholarships:

Adam Brown - Homer High School
Asha Duhan - Ithaca High School
Lauren Fish - Lansing High School
Benjamin Haefner - Charles O. Dickerson High School 
Saige Jackson - New Roots Charter School
Sarah Karnes - Ithaca High School
Catherine Kopp - Southern Cayuga Central School
Alison Lantry - Sandy Creek High School
Janice Lee - Ithaca High School
Desirae Livermore - McGraw High School
Anthony Pawlewicz - Newfield High School
Irena Rosenberg - Ithaca High School
Alexander Ryan - Cortland High School
Tony Yang - Ithaca High School
Elyssa Yonta - Cortland High SchoolSaige Jackson - New Roots Charter School

Community Service Awards:

Conner Bennett - Southern Cayuga Central School
Catherine Kopp - Southern Cayuga Central School
Anna Lewis - Lansing High School
Menelik Weatherspoon - Ithaca High School


Richard V.V. Stringham Scholarships:

Cynthia Chen - Ithaca High School
Reed Cleland - Homer High School
Rachel Coombs - McGraw High School
Jon Frederick - Cortland High School
Natalie Gier - Cortland High School
Brooke Henderson - Ithaca High School
Garam "Popo" Hong - Ithaca High School
Jordan Lu - Ithaca High School
Auburn Noce - Charles O. Dickerson High School 
Elizabeth "Lizzy" Rayle - Ithaca High School
Caleb Richards - Home Schooled
Jamie Sayre - Spencer Van-Etten High School
Alyssa Thompson - Groton High School
Caleb Wilder - Lansing High School

Community Service Awards:

Mackenzie Perkins - Groton High School
Natalie Thomas - Marathon Central School


Richard V.V. Stringham Scholarships:

Jaedyn Allen – Groton High School
Katelyn Artibee - Charles O. Dickerson High School 
Bronwyn Galloway – Ithaca High School
Katherine Heath – Newfield High School
Sarah Jeon – Ithaca High School
Olivia Longhouse – Lansing High School 
Maybeck McCann – Charles O. Dickerson High School
Madelynne Newton – Cincinnatus High School
Tenzin Seldoen Oshoe – Ithaca High School
Sidney Reeves – Groton High School
Emily Sine – Ithaca High School
Anna Sutherland – Charles O. Dickerson High School 
Gavin Tabel – Cortland High School
Cameron Vanselow – South Seneca High School

Community Service Awards:

Mallorie Conroy – Charles O. Dickerson High School
Noah Kilmer – Homer High School

Education Committee

The CFCU Education Committee consists of employees and volunteer(s) from the CFCU Community Credit Union’s membership. The primary role of the Education Committee is to oversee CFCU’s annual scholarship and award program which includes 2-year scholarships, 4-year scholarships, and a Community Service Award.

The Education Committee is made up of the following employees and volunteers:
  • Jennifer Clark (Chair)
  • Art Bakert (Award Distribution Processor)
  • Kelsey Brown
  • Emily Conner
  • Leigh Alo
  • Laura Edick

Debbie Grusenmeyer

Debbie Grusenmeyer

Education Committee Member

Phil Cleary

Phil Cleary

Education Committee Member












Student Loan Options

CFCU Community Credit Union has partenered up with Student Choice to bring you access to student loans with great benefits:

  • Zero origination fees and lower rates than many other lenders.

  • Defer payments while you're in school (optional).

  • Structured as a Line-of-Credit (LOC), which you can then use over multiple years. The benefit is that with just one application you can qualify for a LOC that will cover the remainder of your undergraduate career (up to $75,000)*. Each year, you simply determine how much of the eligible LOC amount you'll need - without having to complete an entirely new application!

  • Flexible repayment options resulting in lower initial payments after graduation.

  • Reduce your interest rate by 0.25% during full repayment when you enroll in automatic payment.

Apply Now!

For questions, please contact the

CFCU Education Committee