2014 GRSB scholarships awarded

Three Grand Rapids State Bank financial focus scholarships were awarded this year to graduating high school seniors in three area school districts: Grand Rapids, Greenway and Remer.  The GRSB scholarships are awarded annually to graduating high school seniors who intend to pursue a degree in a field of study related to finance, banking accounting or economics. 

Abbey Jewett is the GRSB scholarship recipient from the Remer High School.  Abbey will attend St. Thomas University where she will work to earn a degree in accounting/finance or actuarial science.  Abbey was active in the high school band, track, volleyball, and Knowledge Bowl teams.  Abbey’s takes inspiration from her mother’s battle with cancer, and she is determined to earn an education that can land a career that will keep her financially self-sufficient.

Lindsey Mattei is a Grand Rapids High School graduate and the recipient of the GRSB Centennial Scholarship.  Lindsey will attend St. Olaf College this fall to pursue a degree in economics.  Lindsey has been involved in a number of student and community volunteer activities, including Second Harvest Food Bank and Grace House.  She was active in speech, debate, marching band, student council, dance and piano during high school. 

Kella Warner graduated from Greenway High School and plans to attend Itasca Community College in the fall.  Her goal is to obtain a degree that will help her start up her own business to help others achieve health and fitness goals.  She has been a volunteer in her church, in the Blackberry 4H Club, Itasca Sunset Saddle Club, Salvation Army and roadside cleanup through the high school.  Kella works as a personal care assistant for an autistic youngster.


2014 scholarship winners: (clockwise, from upper left) Abbey Jewett, Remer High School; Lindsey Mattei, Grand Rapids High School, pictured with Al Liestman; Kella Warner, Greenway High School, with Ed Zabinski.

“On behalf of GRSB and all employees, I’d like to compliment the three scholarship winners,” said Ed Zabinski, chairman of the Grand Rapids State Bank Financial Focus Scholarship Committee.   “The process of selecting three finalists was nerve-wracking.  Thanks to the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation who managed the front end of the scholarship process, we were given only 25 applications to review.  However, we had a difficult time sorting through the applications.  We were not informed of the identity of the applicants until after we finished ranking them, but it appears all three winners were very deserving.”

 “I’d also like to thank my colleagues on the Committee,” Zabinski continued.  “We brainstormed late last year a few options for raising more funds in this, our centennial, year.  Our in-house auction was very successful; it doesn’t’ hurt that we had an old hand, Al Liestman, who is a well-renowned auctioneer.  We will organize other events this year, but our first effort at trying something new was successful, and the team effort was encouraging.”

Grand Rapids State Bank employees donated and raised through special events most of the funds awarded in these three scholarships this year.  The special events included a live and silent auction and three “casual for a cause” days where employees wear something more casual than is customary attire for the 100-year-old bank.  Employees also have the option of making donations through a payroll-deduction program. 

The 2014 Grand Rapids Scholarship Committee is comprised of Al Liestman (senior vice president-lending); Jeni Dorr (administrative assistant); Wayne Bruns (vice president-business banking); and Steph Warren (executive assistant); and Ed Zabinski (senior vice president).  The Committee’s duties include managing the scholarship budget, planning special fundraising events, and selecting the scholarship winners from among the many applicants from the bank’s service area. 

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