2017 Scholarship Winner


Manon Bond Photo

Manon Bond

Fort Dorchester High School

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While there are many important things in life, I have learned that financial stability is a key component to achieving my dreams. Many people, particularly high schoolers, do not begin planning their financial future early enough; I however am an exception. At just three years old, I did not see my father going hungry some nights to feed my sister and I, nor did I see that my irresponsible biological mother left us with thousands in consumer debt that my father never knew existed or that she would not be a responsible or consistent financial provider for my sister or myself. When my father married the woman who is now my mother, however, these hardships soon disappeared and I experienced comforts of living a more financially stable life. Using her business and finance background, my mother began budgeting and managing family finances, which taught me the importance of financial responsibility.

My parents stressed education and hard work, but I did not understand it fully as a child when they would say “the best investment you can make is an investment in yourself.” However, I took their advice and modeled hard work through my education, where I rank third in my class of 519 students. I will become the third person on my father's side of my family to graduate college, which is an important part of my financial future planning. I realized the lifestyle I wish to maintain will be made easier by making this investment in myself of a quality education.

When I went to high school, I rigorously pursued two things – taking courses to earn college credit, and saving money for college. The money I have earned working has been budgeted into categories of tithing, college savings (books and tuition), an emergency fund, and spending money which I am saving for living expenses while at college. I hold myself accountable to these standards, I keep a transaction log that I balance to my bank statement, and by doing these things I am learning how to not just make a budget, but how to stick to one.

During discussions on how to choose a college, my parents would explain that I should go to the best school for the major that I wanted. This sounded pretty great, except the four words that followed: ‘that you can afford’. I have been accepted to my top choice school – an in-state public university – and now I am working hard to afford attendance there through scholarships such as this one.

Planning for my financial future does not cease upon college graduation, and I am looking beyond this to formulate long term financial plans. These include making contributions to a retirement account, saving to purchase a car and home, and saving to start a family. I will work diligently in these approaching years to make these plans a reality so that I will be able to provide for not only my own necessities and wants, but for those of my children as well.