Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Black Dirt Scholarship

The Black Dirt Scholarship is funded with a portion of the proceeds from the Black Dirt Feast. The feast was first created in 2009 by Chamber members Sondra and Peter Hall as a way to showcase some of the top chefs in the region and the farms who provide the produce that they use. Now celebrating its eighth year, currently managed by John Redman of Union Square Group, the event’s objective is to bring the entire community together to celebrate the beauty and bounty of the Black Dirt Region.

Since its founding in 1961, the mission of the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce has been to promote prosperity in the business community, support and enhance the uniqueness of the region, and to enrich the lives of all residents through community spirit and cooperation.

Scholarships are announced in May, awarded in June.

Click here for the application.


Our 2017 Award Winners

The Pine Island Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce this years’ Black Dirt Scholarship Award winners. During the annual senior awards night held at Warwick Valley High School, Shannon Applequist, Jennifer Prial, and Vivian Hall were each named recipients of a $1,500 Black Dirt Scholarship.

Photo: L to R, Shannon Applequist, Jennifer Prial, and Vivian Hall

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 Girl Scouts. Meanwhile, she also volunteered to raise a German Shepherd puppy for The Seeing Eye, as a new student orientation leader and parent teacher conference aid at the high school, as a server for the Black Dirt Feast, and 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, specializing in pediatric oncology. Her community volunteer activities have included riding on ambulance calls, working in nursing homes, and the emergency room of local hospitals. She is also a cofounder of the WVCSD Read to Succeed Initiative, a program for high school students to read to, and discuss topics of positive character traits with elementary school students. 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 feast was first conceived as a way to showcase some of the top chefs in the region and the farms who provide the produce they use. 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 who meet the qualifications of the application. Click here for application.

Since its founding in 1961, the mission of the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce (www,pineislandny.com) has been to promote prosperity in the business community, support and enhance the uniqueness of the region, and to enrich the lives of all residents through community spirit and cooperation.


For further details on the Black Dirt Scholarship, download scholarship application below.

Question? Email the Chamber.

Download Scholarship Application