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November 2023 1st Financial Bank USA Financial Goals Scholarship Winner: Ashley P.

December 7, 2023

November 2023 1FBUSA Scholarship Winner- Ashley P.We are excited to announce the November 2023 Financial Goals Scholarship winner is Ashley! Congratulations!

"When receiving the email that I had won the scholarship for this month, I felt an instant rush of excitement and gratitude. I was just so happy that my essay really resonated with the judges because the connection I have to my cousin, Brianna, is very dear to me. I’m just extremely grateful that I can now share that story with others who are looking to apply. Thank you so much to 1st Financial Bank USA for awarding me the 1st Financial Bank USA Financial Goals Scholarship." - Ashley P.


If someone handed you a blank check for $100,000, your first thought might be to go on a vacation or shopping spree. However, the catch is that you must address the check to a person or organization that has played a role in helping you achieve your educational or financial goals, such as a motivating coach, a helpful community organization, or your encouraging parents. In her essay, Ashley shares how she would give the $100,000 check to her cousin who has supported her goals. 

"As my feet pattered against the floor, running around my Aunt's Floridian house, the air smelt like crisp cinnamon and fresh-cut evergreen. It was Christmas. There was no time better to be a kid than on Christmas day. Earlier that day, I had ripped open about six presents. As any 7-year-old would, I had no regard for how much things cost or the concept of money. I just knew to say thank you afterward and smile at my parents, aunt, and uncle for their generosity. My older cousin, Bri, was 13 at the time. She only got one present that year…and it was cash. I couldn't understand the value of cash, so I only thought, "Wow, that's a terrible gift." I watched as she tucked the money away in her piggy bank. The exciting grin on her face only brought confusion to mine. I didn't ask her why cash made her so happy because, quite frankly, I’d rather spend my time running and playing with my younger cousins.

Fast forward 11 years later, and I now understand that grin on her face. And unlike before, all I do is ask her about money. As a college freshman approaching adulthood, credit scores, rent, post-grad jobs, and my major are all that's on my mind. Bri is someone who I can come to for all of my concerns. When planning my budget for my first semester at college, Bri patiently guided me through creating a realistic budget tailored to my expenses and savings. She shared personal anecdotes of her own college budgeting triumphs and mishaps, making the whole process relatable and less daunting. Bri emphasized the importance of distinguishing between needs and wants, urging me to prioritize essentials like textbooks and public transportation over non-essentials like excessive shopping and unnecessary Ubers. She also introduced me to useful budgeting apps and online tools to track my spending habits. It is now near the end of the semester, and with her advice, I not only spent my money responsibly but also have left over money from being so diligent. Because of Bri, I'm excited to build a credit score and rent an apartment in the future. While managing money can be challenging, due to the lessons from Bri, I don't fear managing my money. I embrace it.

This is why I would give Bri the $100,000 check. Not only do I know she would use the money wisely by investing or saving, but I know she deserves it. She graduated undergrad two years ago and still never fails to give me the lessons she wishes she had. When I start the business of my dreams, I will 100% be consulting Bri every second of the way. When I start looking for apartments after graduating, Bri will be the one who I call. I have just started college, but I already know the financial lessons she's given me will be used for the rest of my life. Grateful doesn't even begin to cover it.


Established in the year 1910, 1st Financial Bank USA (1FBUSA) provides quality community banking services in South Dakota, credit card and other financial services to college students and college graduates, and construction lending to builders, developers, and investors from coast to coast. 1FBUSA will award a $2,000 scholarship to a new winner each month. View full rules and eligibility at


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