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High School Credit Unions

How it All Started

Gesa Credit Union opened the first local high school credit union branch at Richland High School in 2000. In 2002, the Hanford High School branch opened, followed in the spring of 2005 with a Pasco High School branch.

In the first few years, Gesa's Marketing and Accounting departments worked closely with these cooperative credit unions with training and operational guidance. In 2007, Gesa hired an Education Specialist who works as a liaison with the schools and the community on youth outreach. This coordinator is also a member of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco’s Career and Technical Advisory Boards.

Program Overview

Our High School Credit Union Program provides hands-on, real life financial industry experience for high school students. Currently located in eight high schools within the Tri-Cities area, the student-ran campus branches open during lunch periods and enable the school’s student body and staff to access their accounts or perform basic account transactions in a realistic credit union atmosphere. Students are hand-selected for each branch.

Depending on the high school's curriculum, the branch is operated through the Accounting, Financial Services, or DECA programs. Teachers from each school guide the students in class throughout the year, with the support of their Campus Branch Managers and Gesa’s Education & Outreach Specialists.

Day-to-Day Operation

Campus Branch students must present themselves in a professional, courteous manner when dealing with members, student staff and credit union personnel. As “financial institution professionals,” they’re the guardians of their members’ funds and financial information, and are required to maintain confidentiality at all times. Gesa’s Student Staff also needs to be constantly aware that they’re “the face of Gesa” to student members and their families, to school staff – and by extension, our communities.

Student Internships

Gesa hires one student intern at each school to serve as their school’s Campus Branch Manager. The Campus Branch Managers supervises the students during daily operation of the Campus Branch, with the HSCU Teacher’s support. Student Interns also serve as Tellers within their home branches, receiving both managerial and financial industry experience during their internship.

Branch Affiliations

  • Kennewick - Kennewick High School
  • Richland - Richland High School
  • South Kennewick - Southridge High School
  • South Richland - Delta High School
  • Solution Center - Pasco High School
  • Solution Center - Kamaikin High School
  • West Pasco - Chiawana High School
  • West Richland - Hanford High School

College Scholarships

Entering College Freshmen

Gesa Credit Union offers ten $2,000 and one $5,000 scholarship to local high school seniors who have plans to pursue a higher degree of education. To be eligible, you must be a member in good standing of Gesa Credit Union and be entering your freshman year of college as a full-time student with a 3.0 or greater cumulative high school GPA.

Current College Students

New to this year, current college students who have plans to continue their higher education are eligible for our continued education scholarships. Gesa will award five $2,000 and one $5,000 scholarship to eligible students. To be eligible, you must be a member in good standing of Gesa Credit Union with plans of returning as a full-time student in the fall of 2015.

Submission Information

The application deadline for the 2015/2016 academic year was February 28, 2015.

Gesa has offered scholarships to college students for more than two decades through colleges and universities throughout the State of Washington. Since 1987, Gesa has awarded $265,000 in scholarships to deserving local students.

2015 Entering Freshmen Scholarship Winners

  • Alexia Estrada, Kamiakin High School
  • Tasha Kniffen, Eastmont High School
  • Landon Baldwin, Cashmere High School
  • Katelyn Huesby, Touchet High School
  • Annelyse Baker, Walla Walla High School
  • Sidney Bullock, Richland High School
  • Isis Carrillo, Southridge High School
  • Seth Chapman, Walla Walla High School
  • Sarah Gibbons, Kamiakin High School
  • Kristen Baker, Hanford High School

2015 Entering Freshman President's Choice Scholarship Winner

  • Eric Christensen, Kamiakin High School

2015 Continued Education Scholarship Winners

  • Kelsey Childers, Central Washington University
  • Ashley Stone, University of Washington
  • Alejandra Ramos, Seattle University
  • Kathryn Hewitt, Gonzaga University
  • Nicole Praga, Arizona State University

2015 Continued Education President's Choice Scholarship Winner

  • Jeanelle Pestes, Washington State University