Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Black Dirt Scholarship

Warwick’s agricultural roots are firmly based in Pine Island’s Black Dirt Region. The region provides food for residents, restaurants and retailers throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City and nearby communities. Today this region is known as one of the richest farmlands in all of North America. The Black Dirt Scholarship Fund, created in 2012 from a portion of the proceeds of the annual Black Dirt Feast now in its 11th year, and presented by the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, honors students seeking to further their education in three areas: Agriculture/Equestrian, Culinary Arts/Hospitality and other college majors. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to and involvement in community volunteer service or community work experience.

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.

Application Deadline
All materials must be submitted to the high school guidance department or postmarked no later than Monday, April 22, 2019.

Scholarships are announced in May, awarded in June.

Download Scholarship Application

Our 2018 Award Winners

The Pine Island Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2018 Black Dirt Scholarship award winners. The Black Dirt Scholarship Fund awards three annual scholarships of $1,500 each to students who have demonstrated a commitment to and involvement in community volunteer service or community work experience. Click here for previous Black Dirt Scholarship Fund winners.

Winners​, Claire Bulkley and ​Emma Davis with Black Dirt Scholarship Fund Committee Co-chairs​, Peter Groenendaal and ​Sondra Hall Photo: Peter Lyons Hall
Winners​ Claire Bulkley and ​Emma Davis with Black Dirt Scholarship Fund Committee Co-chairs​, Peter Groenendaal and ​Sondra Hall. Photo: Peter Lyons Hall
Winner Alyssa Sieczek. Photo: Peter Lyons Hall

Emma Davis:  During the annual senior awards night held at Warwick Valley High School, Emma Davis was awarded for Agricultural/Equestrian Studies. In her application essay Davis wrote “Major successes in my high school career are no more important than being a mentor to younger students looking to join clubs or being part of the prom planning committee. This I learned from my horse. . . Small successes are just as important as the big ones.” She will be entering Cornell University in a pre-veterinary track in September.

Claire Bulkley:  Claire Bulkley was awarded for Any Declared Major and will be studying nursing at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. She believes that “success is continually growing, improving, and doing for others…I have set goals to help me achieve what St. Augustine wrote, to become what you are not. Volunteering in the community and abroad has made me realize the positive impact we all have on each other.”

Alyssa Sieczek:  At S.S. Seward Institute’s awards program, Alyssa Sieczek was awarded for Culinary Arts/Hospitality Studies. She will be attending SUNY Adirondack. “A person of integrity and professionalism,” she wrote, “is confident and accountable. They know their craft, they are confident in their skills, and they are accountable for their actions.”

The Black Dirt Scholarship is funded with a portion of the proceeds from the Black Dirt Feast. The feast was conceived of as a way to showcase some of the top chefs in the region and the farms who provide the produce that they use. 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.

Click here for the application.


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

Question? Email the Chamber.

Download Scholarship Application