The CBAI Foundation for Community Banking provides monetary awards for top high school seniors statewide. The total awards awards available this year by the Foundation is $21,000. These awards help deserving students highlight the importance of community banking to the local economy.  You could win up to $4,000 for higher education and your school is eligible to win $500.

Judges will select the top entries statewide written by high school seniors who best capture the three assigned topics.

Judges will be looking for an understanding of what a community bank is and it's role in the local economy. The entry should emphasize the philosophy of community banking, but MAKE NO REFERENCE TO A SPECIFIC BANK, BANKER, NOR CITY; ALSO NO REFERENCE TO THE MOVIES: IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE OR FORREST GUMP

Competition: Competition is open to Illinois high school seniors who are sponsored by a CBAI member bank; it is not based on financial need. Student bank employees, plus the immediate families of any bank's employees, board members, and CBAI employees are ineligible. 

Students are asked to write one paragraph on each of the three topics. Length of the entry must not exceed two pages of typewritten copy. It should be double-spaced, using Times New Roman font in 10-12 point size. Do not submit your essay to more than one bank or you will be disqualified. 

Researching the Entry: Contestants will find that the most meaningful research about the subject will be gained from a tour of a local community bank and an interview with a bank officer.

Entries: An original and two copies of the assignment, the official application, and the background information form are to be submitted to Mrs. DeWerff. A special local committee will review all manuscripts and select the local contest winners, if applicable, and send as many entries to the CBAI Foundation for the statewide competition as the bank is allowed.

Entry Integrity: Entries must be written entirely by the student, without additional correction, grading, or enhancement by any other party, including teachers and parents. Students may not collaborate with one another. Students may not view other students' work prior to submission. Use of the Wikipedia definition of a community bank will result in points taken off. Violation of any of these rules will be cause for ineligibility of entry.

Judging Criteria: Judges will use the following criteria to evaluate each entry: understanding of community banking philosophy, accurate information, clear and concise sentences, logical organization, proper grammar, correct punctuation and spelling, and conclusion/summary.

Deadline: Entries must be received by the CBAI Foundation via the sponsoring bank by 5 p.m. on Wednesday February 6, 2019 to be eligible for judging. Check with the local sponsoring bank or its preliminary judging deadline. NOTE: Semi-finalists will be required to make a presentation of their submission to a community group of no fewer than five individuals; the purpose is to increase the understanding of the banking profession. Semi-finalists will also sign an Intent form indicating they intend to continue their education at a college, university, or accrediated trade school. 

Scholarship Amounts: Monetary amounts will be given in addition to any other grants or awards the student may receive, and will be made directly to the winners. However, the winner must sign a statement that he/she will use the award to further his/her education. The monetary awards awarded for the overall winner will be $1000 per year for up to four years of higher education, with up to 11 additional awards of $1000 and up to 12 second place awards of $500 each, depending on the quality of the entries. A check for $500 will be presented to the winning student's school. 

Attached is more information, essay topics, and application. If you have any questions, contact Bobbi Watson at 217-529-2265 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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