Arizona Republic
May 12, 2007

Author: Sadie Jo Smokey, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2

Two graduating seniors from north Phoenix high schools are thanking their credit union for keeping their money safe and for helping pay for college expenses.

Desert Schools Federal Credit Union awarded scholarships to seven Valley students on May 3 at the Desert Schools corporate headquarters in Phoenix.

Yazmin Avila, a student at North Canyon High, won a $5,000 scholarship.
Shruti Bala, a student at Barry Goldwater High, won $1,000.

Avila, who will attend the University of Arizona in the fall, said her parents inspired her to do her best in school. When Avila and her brother were young, their mom took a job at Palomino Elementary School so she could be close to her children and be involved with their education. Avila volunteers at the school as a bilingual translator at parent-teacher conferences.

"When I was growing up, I had my mom at home and at school," Avila said. "My mom is happy I'm getting this opportunity, but she's sad I'm leaving, too."

Shruti, a 16-year-old senior with a 4.78 grade- point average will also attend UA.

"I was thinking of going out of state, but the scholarships made it easier to stay in Arizona," Shruti said. "My mom is excited I'm staying close to home."

At the scholarship reception, students learned that teachers who were committed to helping others founded the credit union. Susan Frank, president and CEO, said the word "schools" is part of the institution's name for a reason.

"It's there as a constant reminder to remain invested in the next generation of Arizona's leaders," Frank said.

Each year, the credit union offers scholarships to students for their hard work and dedication, both in the classroom and in the community.

Since 2004, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union has awarded more than $50,000 to 20 Valley students who set the standard for community service and academic excellence, bank officials said.

CAPTION: Yazmin Avila
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Northeast Phoenix Republic
Page: 12