First Commerce Credit Union Empowers Financial Futures by Awarding Two $1,000 MyWay Scholarships to Local Georgia Students

First Commerce Credit Union Empowers Financial Futures by Awarding a Total of Four $1,000 MyWay Scholarships to Local Students  

First Commerce Credit Union recently awarded four $1,000 MyWay scholarships to credit union members ages 17-29 to help support their higher education pursuits. This is the ninth year First Commerce has awarded scholarships to recognize students who demonstrate excellence in school and beyond. Two MyWay scholarships were awarded to Georgia students and two were awarded in Florida. Kylie Downs from Adel, GA, and Cohen Smith from Valdosta, GA, were selected as this year’s Georgia scholarship recipients.

MyWay Scholarship applications and essays were judged by an independent panel of educators from distinguished institutions of higher learning, including Valdosta State University, Florida A & M University, Florida State University, and Tallahassee Community College. Winners were selected based on criteria including grades, community service, leadership, school activities, and work experience. Each applicant was also required to submit an essay or short video elaborating on their experiences with and approach to money, as well as lessons learned. Scholarships will be paid directly to the student’s chosen institution of higher learning and can be used to help pay for school expenses such as tuition, fees, and books.

“First Commerce is committed to helping our members build strong financial futures,” said Cecilia Homison, First Commerce CEO. “The MyWay Scholarship program empowers our young members to pursue higher learning goals, which can open doors to career opportunities that set them on a path toward long-term financial success.”

About the Georgia Winners

Kylie Downs is a graduating senior from Cook High School who plans to study psychology at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The varsity cross country and soccer athlete has also been involved in a work-based learning program. In her scholarship application, she wrote, “I currently get paid once a month, so learning how to budget was essential to ensure I had enough money to get through the month. With my MyWay Account it is super easy to check how much money I have in my account, especially with the app. Since I always have my phone on me it is convenient to just click an app to check my finances.”


Cohen Smith, a senior at Valdosta High School, will attend the University of Georgia to study Civil Engineering. The dual enrolled honor student and varsity baseball player also gives back to his community. He is currently interning at a law firm. He wrote, “While there are many resources available to help people improve their financial literacy, it is ultimately up to individuals to take responsibility for their financial education and make it a priority in their lives. By doing so, they can create a more secure and stable financial future for themselves and contribute to a stronger and more prosperous economy.”

To be eligible to apply for a MyWay Scholarship, students must have a First Commerce checking account in good standing. First Commerce offers two types of free checking accounts for young adults — SmartStart Teen (available for ages 13-17) and Power Checking (ages 18+). Both accounts offer financial empowerment features such as free online financial education courses, an Automatic Savings Option, no Overdraft Fees, the ability to send and receive money securely through Zelle®, real-time text and email alerts on account activity, credit score monitoring and management, and 24/7 digital banking with mobile deposit. For more information, visit

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Who We Are

Established in 1940, First Commerce is a full-service, not-for-profit credit union with locations across North Florida and South Georgia. We are a member-owned cooperative and committed to the communities we serve. Our purpose is to empower people to enhance their financial well-being by helping them achieve their financial goals – whether it’s simplifying their day-to-day finances, buying their first car or home, or building a great retirement. When you bank with First Commerce, you get a truly personal experience backed by 80 years of financial expertise.