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.


The Pine Island Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2016 Black Dirt Scholarship Fund winners: Taylor Thomas, Christina Carmody, and Bridget Scheinert. Each year the Chamber awards three scholarships of $1,500 each to students who have demonstrated a commitment to and involvement in community volunteer service or community work experience. The winners also get to attend the Annual Black Dirt Feast held at Scheuermann Farms & Greenhouses each August, as guests of the Chamber.

Warwick Valley High School senior, Taylor Thomas, was named the recipient of the Black Dirt Scholarship for agricultural studies. Her long history of community service includes assisting with garden maintenance at Mount Alverno during the summer months and horticultural therapy programs throughout the year; helping with soup kitchens; participating in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event; and volunteering for the Wounded Warrior Project, Warwick Valley High School Drama Club stage crew, and several additional programs. She will be studying food science at Penn State University in the fall.

Taylor Thomas at the WVHS Senior Awards Night


Christina Carmody is a psychology major at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, expecting to graduate in spring 2017. Her volunteer activities include driving a van at Marist so that other students can get to their community service destinations; assisting at the Holy Name Society of St. Joseph’s Church Annual Country Harvest Breakfast; and organizing a coat drive that collected over 300 coats that were donated to Castle Point Military Hospital. In 2010 she started a yoga club at Warwick Valley High School that is still running today.
Bridget Scheinert is a biochemistry major at SUNY Stony Brook, NY, also expecting to graduate in spring 2017. Bridget ranks near the top of the list of civic minded students, and always seem to be involved in one worthy cause or another. Her extensive resume reveals numerous food drives, clothing drives, and craft fairs. She has also worked with our local migrant population to raise money, food, and supplies for underprivileged families; additionally, Bridget has taught Chinese to elementary school students in an enrichment program.

Bridget Scheinert and Christina Carmody, on the porch of Black Dirt Scholarship committee member James Haurey’s The Grange Restaurant and Market.



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

Question? Email the Chamber.

Download Scholarship Application