Benchmark Awards $11,000 in Scholarships

June 7, 2019 - Eleven high school seniors from Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina are receiving $1,000 scholarships each presented by Benchmark Community Bank. The annual $mart$tart Community Commitment Scholarship is named for the bank’s $mart$tart money management program designed for ages 13-17.

Selected from a pool of over 75 applicants for the bank’s $mart$tart Community Commitment Scholarship, the recipients are as follow:

• Savannah Blalock, Franklin Academy, Wake Forest

• Laura Care, Vance County High School, Henderson

• Kayla Chaffin, Central High School, Victoria

• Kayla Gurley, Fuqua School, Farmville

• Caroline Laughorn, Halifax County High School, South Boston

• Izabelle McClelland, Crossroads Christian School, Henderson

• Jonathan Paul, Brunswick Academy, Lawrenceville

• Katelynn Roark, Bunn High School, Bunn

• Lucy Smith, Brunswick Academy, Lawrenceville

• Kelsey Wallace, Nottoway High School, Crewe

• Hannah Waller, Brunswick Academy, Lawrenceville

"All of these students distinguished themselves through service with several community organizations, as well as involvement and leadership in multiple extracurricular organizations at their high schools,"Benchmark President/CEO Jay A. Stafford said of the recipients. "We need young people like these to further their educations and return to Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina to contribute their skills and talents for the future of our region. It is Benchmark’s privilege to help these students succeed."

"The goal for our $mart$tart savings and money management program is to help teens build the solid skills that will put them on the road to greater financial security," explained Executive Vice President for Retail Banking LeAnne Emert. "Soon after the program launched, we began hearing great stories about some of our $mart$tart customers and other young people in our areas who were contributing time, skills, and experiences to improve the quality of life in their schools and communities. We believe those contributions should be rewarded and cultivated to benefit our hometowns."

Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is headquartered in Kenbridge, VA, and operates 16 branches throughout Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. For the 13th consecutive year, American Banker magazine has named Benchmark as one of the Top 200 Community Banks out of over 5,000 community banks in the nation. To learn more about Benchmark, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, please visit

Contact: Helen Person, VP/Director of Marketing
434-676-2666 ext. 1103


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