Neighborhood Credit Union

Meet Our 2018 Scholarship Winners

For this year’s scholarship contest, the prompt was to write about a time when someone showed you kindness and how you were able to pay it forward. Now that we’ve announced this year’s winners, we wanted to share how these three students were shown kindness and were able to pay it forward.

Amanda Duke

A man and woman standing and smiling holding a large check

When Amanda was born, she was born with a hole in her heart. She told the story of this girl she didn’t know who gave out little paper hearts that read “Amanda’s Heart” giving them out to people and told them how to help Amanda and her family. That act of kindness stuck with Amanda and she always looks for little ways to show kindness to everyone she meets.

“I was just a baby. How could I know what was going on? But she lived a lifestyle of helping anyone and everyone she can, and that’s how I choose to live my life. I think of ‘what would she do?’”

She then talked about two middle school girls ask her for a ride home because they missed the bus, so Amanda stopped what she was doing to take the time to give them a ride home.

She is planning to attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas this coming fall.

Joel Saji

A man and woman standing and smiling holding a large check

While Joel was growing up, he and his family lived in many different countries before settling down in the United States. Going through the ESL (English as a Second Language) program at his school, Joel’s counselor was fully committed to helping him and ended up inspiring him to in turn help others. He then committed to tutoring math to students who needed some extra help preparing for the state-required STAAR exam.

“I hope that by using the same cordiality that my ESL counselor used on me, I am able to teach and inspire my own peers and help them achieve the goals that they both knowingly and unknowingly have set for themselves.”

He is planning to attend Texas A&M in College Station in the fall.

Natalie Ensey

two women standing and smiling holding a large check

On her first solo drive after getting her driver’s license, she stopped to buy a cup of coffee only to find out that she had forgotten her wallet. A homeless man came up behind her and offered to buy her coffee for her. This stuck with Natalie and she then started working with her church distributing “blessing bags” to the homeless around Dallas.

“I’m especially grateful for that one man who opened my eyes. He changed my life just by buying me a cup of coffee.”

She is going to be attending Texas Woman’s University in Denton this fall.

Once again, congratulations to our three winners and good luck during your first semester of college!