Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation Awards Sydney Guthrie $7,500 College Scholarship; Awards $26,000 Overall to High School Seniors Across Virginia


The Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) Education Foundation is pleased to announce that Sydney Guthrie is the statewide winner of the VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program (Bank Day). Sydney, who is a senior at James Madison High School in Vienna, was hosted by Burke & Herbert Bank to participate in Bank Day. Previously named the Northern Virginia region winner, Sydney was awarded a $2,500 scholarship and will now receive an additional $5,000, for a total of $7,500 for her college education.

The VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program began in 1991 when the third Tuesday in March was declared Bank Day in Virginia by the Virginia General Assembly. More than 650 students registered to participate with 28 Virginia banks for this year’s program. These participating banks hosted in-person and virtual meetings for the students and provided resources and information so the students could learn about banking, financial services, career opportunities in the industry and the vital role banks play in their communities. Throughout this program, students also had access to a variety of resources from the VBA, including videos, articles and podcasts, which covered industry topics such as banking fundamentals, understanding credit, careers in banking, and banks’ economic impact in Virginia.

Students were asked to write an essay about their experience and thirteen scholarships (six regional, six honorable mention, and one overall statewide) were awarded based on the merit of the essays.

“We are so pleased to see Sydney receive this recognition,” said David Boyle, president and CEO, Burke & Herbert Bank. “Her essay exemplifies the importance of programs like Bank Day. Helping young adults launch with an appreciation for mastering their finances and understanding the role banks play in growing communities is one of the most important jobs we have at a community bank.”

Sydney reflected on her time with Burke & Herbert Bank in her essay titled Find a Good Bank and You’ll Find a Helper, saying, “[Mr. Rogers] said something that will always stick with me: always look for the helpers. Throughout my life I’ve done that, relying on people who are typically seen as helpers, like teachers, doctors, and coaches. But guess what? Banks are helpers, too! They loan money to small businesses in a non-discriminatory manner, which improves the lives of everyone in the community. The ice cream shop that is able to open its doors because it secured a small business loan ends up being the place that the whole orchestra goes to for a treat after the last concert each year. They work to improve lives in other ways, too, such as donating to organizations in their communities and participating in enriching programs like the Bank Day one I attended and the Virginia Reads One Book event for younger children. As helpers, they educate adults on various topics such as powers of attorney, the use of credit, and how to recognize fake bank messages. Banks wants communities and neighborhoods to succeed, and they work to help them do so.”

“We are excited to award Sydney, and all of this year’s winners, with these scholarships. In reading the finalists’ essays, the amount of information these students learn about banking in one day never ceases to amaze me. A key objective of the VBA Education Foundation is to make sure that Virginia’s students are prepared for their financial futures, and it’s clear from these essays that Bank Day is key driver of progress towards that goal,” said Bruce Whitehurst, VBA president & CEO.

The following students also had winning essays:

  • Capitol Region Winner: Charles Riccardino, Jr., Atlee High School, Hosted by Truist Bank
  • Capitol Region Honorable Mention Winner: Gabriella Greth, Hanover High School, Hosted by C&F Bank
  • Central/Southside Region Winner: Ele Norton, Blacksburg High School, Hosted by First Bank & Trust Co.
  • Central/Southside Region Honorable Mention Winner: Sarah Dinkel, Blacksburg High School, Hosted by First Bank & Trust Co.
  • Eastern Virginia Region Winner: Destiny Caravello, Nansemond River High School, Hosted by Blue Ridge Bank
  • Eastern Virginia Region Honorable Mention Winner: Joseph Scott, Lancaster High School, Hosted by Chesapeake Bank
  • Statewide & Northern Virginia Region Winner: Sydney Guthrie, James Madison High School, Hosted by Burke & Herbert Bank
  • Northern Virginia Region Honorable Mention Winner: Ashraf Abdou, Justice High School, Hosted by Burke & Herbert Bank
  • Southwest Virginia Region Winner: Blair Rutherford, Patrick Henry High School, Hosted by First Bank & Trust Co.
  • Southwest Virginia Region Honorable Mention Winner: Ethan Cloud, Eastside High School, Hosted by Powell Valley National Bank
  • Valley Region Winner: Savannah Hillman, Valley Baptist Christian School, Hosted by First Bank, Virginia
  • Valley Region Honorable Mention Winner: Mason Cubbage, Page County High School, Hosted by Blue Ridge Bank

Since 2012, the VBA Education Foundation has distributed $296,000 in scholarship monies to 138 students, all while educating more than 4,510 participating students about the banking industry through the Bank Day program. The VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program will take place again next March.


About the Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation

The Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) formed the VBA Education Foundation in 2007 with funding from the majority of VBA member banks for the Walter Ayers Fund for Financial Education. The Foundation’s mission is to improve personal financial literacy and economic education in all public and private schools in the Commonwealth. The Foundation recognizes the importance of economic education and financial literacy in Virginia and supports the banking industry as a key participant in these areas. For more information, visit