The Pine Island Chamber of Commerce awarded three Black Dirt Scholarships at the annual Senior Awards Night held at the Warwick Valley High School recently. The winners were Shannon Applequist, Jennifer Prial and Vivian Hall, who each received a $1,500 scholarship.
Shannon Applequist won in the Agricultural Studies category. She will be studying plant science at Pennsylvania State University in the fall and is an orchid enthusiast. Her collection includes 26 plants and four different varieties. Shannon also constructed and stocked a greenhouse on the premises of the Warwick Valley Humane Society to grow edible plants for the shelter animals, a project for which she earned the coveted Gold Award from the Girls Scouts.
Meanwhile, she also volunteered to raise a German Shepherd puppy for The Seeing Eye, she served as a new student orientation leader and parent teacher conference aid at the high school, she worked as a server for the Black Dirt Feast, and she worked with Project Speak Up, an anti-bullying club that works among the middle and elementary schools to teach students about bullying, peer pressure, and how to avoid it all.
Jennie Prial will be pursuing nursing at Xavier University this fall and eventually plans on becoming a nurse practitioner and specializing in pediatric oncology.
Her community volunteer activities include riding on ambulance calls and working in nursing homes and in the emergency room of local hospitals. She is also a co-founder of the WVCSD Read to Succeed Initiative, a program for high school students to read to and discuss with elementary school students topics of positive character traits. She has also worked with the Capuchin Outreach Program and Capuchin Appalachian Mission.
Vivian Hall will be attending Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston to study Interdisciplinary Engineering. She wants to use her skills as an engineer to provide humanitarian aid to communities in need of alternative energy sources.
Her community service includes the Warwick Historical Society, Earth Day Community Clean Up, the Warwick Valley Humane Society, the Warwick Chamber of Commerce, and the middle school drama club. She has also volunteered as a server every year of the Black Dirt Feast.
Vivian is an accomplished bass player and has volunteered to play music in shops and restaurants around the Village of Warwick during the Christmas Holidays.
The Black Dirt Scholarship is funded with a portion of the proceeds from the Black Dirt Feast. The event’s objective is to bring the entire community together to celebrate the beauty and bounty of the Black Dirt Region.
The scholarship is awarded to students pursuing a college curriculum in agriculture/equine studies, culinary arts/hospitality, or any other declared major, and who meet the qualifications of the application.