Gene's Note: Scholarships

During the month of March, the Rogue Valley starts to bloom. The start of this new season is filled with fresh air, blue skies, Pear Blossoms… and maybe some extra yard work. It’s also the start of a new season for many local students as well. High school seniors are planning their bright futures – they’re getting ready to graduate and head out to find their place in the world. This an exciting time for our graduates and an opportunity for all of us.

Many years ago, a truly dedicated high school counselor saw potential in me and encouraged me to apply for a scholarship that changed the trajectory of my life… my parents worked hard, but there just wasn’t any money for college. That scholarship and training program has given me the opportunity to work in financial services for over 40 years. As the first college graduate in my family, I could have never imagined how one act of encouragement could lead me to where I am today…working for you and Southern Oregon!

We have no way of knowing whether a few words of encouragement or what opportunity will be the catalyst to reach for more. One of the benefits that we provide to the community that I am proudest of, is our Student Branch program. While on the outside, it may seem just like an after-school job, it’s been a launching point for many. The skills and professional development that students gain and the impact they bring to our community is often felt long after students have left the program. 

One of our former Student Branch Tellers, Kendell Erb, is working towards becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Kendell was a standout at her high school branch and then helped us start up our first college campus branch at Southern Oregon University. She’s taking the skills she learned, professionalism she developed, and passion for helping others into patient care. Not only was Kendell a great contributor to the Rogue team our investment in her will be repaid through her positive impact on our community for many years to come.  

So, now it is my opportunity to join with the members of our credit union to pay it forward with a college scholarship. Founded as a teacher’s credit union in 1956, education is part of our DNA. Rogue is here to help encourage those who want to pursue higher education with scholarships and you can help! If you know a high school senior, encourage them to apply for a Rogue Credit Union Scholarship here. You never know…you might just encourage a great future teacher, a nurse, or the next CEO of your hometown credit union!

I truly enjoy the messages I receive from our members in response to these posts. Please share your favorite story of encouragement or suggestions for future topics with me at