Ava Lazar is wise beyond her years when it comes to financial matters and she is $250 richer because of it. The 13-year old, 8th grade student is the local winner in The Bank of Marion’s Lights, Camera, Save! video contest.

Photo of Ava Lazar, Pete Mowbray & Chris Snodgrass with the award check of $250Dr. Perry “Pete” Mowbray, Chairman of The Bank of Marion’s Board of Directors, left, and Chris Snodgrass, The Bank of Marion’s Chief Financial Officer, right, present Ava Lazar with her winner’s prize in The Bank’s Lights, Camera, Save! video contest.

Ava’s local prize may just be the beginning. The American Bankers Association (ABA) has announced that she is now one of five finalists in the national video competition where the top three winners will receive a cash prize of $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000. In addition, each winner’s school will receive a scholarship for a teacher to attend the Jump$tart National Educator Conference.

The annual Lights, Camera, Save! video competition encourages teens to educate themselves and their peers about the value of saving money and using it wisely. Students produce educational videos and submit them to local banks for judging. Local winners move on to the national competition. The Bank of Marion, an ABA member, has participated in the competition for several years. This year, 158 banks hosted 174 Lights, Camera, Save! contests in 45 states.

“Ava Lazar’s entry was outstanding in both creativity and messaging,” said Chris Snodgrass, The Bank of Marion’s Chief Financial Officer. “Ava played dual roles in her video, depicting teenage sisters, one who saved her money and one who didn’t. She used humor and real-life examples to show how teens can benefit from saving their money for important purchases.

Mr. Snodgrass and Dr. Perry “Pete” Mowbray, Chairman of The Bank of Marion’s Board of Directors, presented Ava with her local winner’s check at a recent meeting of the board.

Ava lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with her parents and older sister, Mia.
She developed an affection for Historic Downtown Marion, The Lincoln Theatre, and The Bank of Marion while visiting Mia who was performing an internship with Song of the Mountains, the nationwide PBS television show that originates from the theatre. Ava’s winning video can be viewed here.


In addition to competing for cash awards, Ava’s video will be entered in the ABA Foundation’s “Savers’ Choice” social media contest. This contest, which runs from Feb. 7 through Feb. 15 on ABA’s Facebook page , will feature the top five Lights, Camera, Save! videos and allow viewers around the world to vote for their favorite entry. The winner of the “Savers’ Choice” will receive a GoPro camera to encourage future filmmaking.

Lights, Camera, Save! Finalist. Vote here!

“All of us at The Bank of Marion are thrilled that Ava’s video is being recognized for finding such a creative and effective way to share valuable savings lessons with her peers,” Dr. Mowbray said. “We hope everyone will vote for Ava’s video as the ‘Savers’ Choice.’”

The Bank of Marion has 17 branches throughout Southwestern Virginia and the Tri-Cities. It was established in 1874 and is the third oldest bank in Virginia.

Ava Lazar standing in fron of the Bank of Marion with a big check.