Thanks to the generosity of one major sponsor and many other local business sponsors, students at the BOCES Seaway Career & Technical Education Center have received scholarships, despite the cancellation of a major Potsdam Rotary fundraising event. The club's annual scholarship gala was cancelled this spring, due to COVID-19 guidance; however, the event's sponsors still followed through on their donations toward the scholarships. Northern Insuring Agency provided a gift of $1,500, matching scholarship donations by other businesses and organizations.
"We cannot thank Northern Insuring enough for their generosity during a time when frankly there hasn't been a lot of good news for our local businesses," said Duane Pelkey, 2019-2020 Rotary president. "Their kindness and that of our other supporters allowed us to award the scholarships that were to be funded by the gala."
The following $200 scholarship awards to the students below were made possible by donations of $100 each from the businesses listed, along with the Northern Insuring match:
Allied Health: Stephani Sherwood of Brasher Falls Central School (Harris Medical)
Automotive Technologies: Robert Reed of Canton Central (Scott's Auto Center)
Automotive Technologies: Brendan Villnave of Potsdam Central (North Country Oil Change & Repair)
Building Trades: Brianna-Alexis Flanagan of Canton Central (Waddington True Value Hardware & Building Supply)
Cosmetology: Allyson Smith-Willmart of Potsdam Central (Lifestyles Salon by Sara Sharlow)
Criminal Justice: Lindsey Besaw of Brasher Falls Central (SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute)
Culinary Arts: Darrien Mitchell of Canton Central (Yum Yum's Chilly Delight)
Education & Human Services: Jessey Pomainville of Massena Central (SUNY Potsdam)
Health Careers: Kourtney Peets of Massena Central (Northern Insuring Agency)
HVAC/R: Austin Briggs of Canton Central (Northern Mechanicals)
Metalworking: Zachary Kirka of Potsdam Central (North Country Savings Bank)
Multi Occupations: Cody Wilby of Norwood-Norfolk Central (St. Lawrence Centre)
Natural Resource Management: Stephen McCargar of Potsdam Central (Thew Associates)
Software Development & Business Design: Autumn Eggleston of Massena Central (Frazer Motors)
In addition to the awards above, O'Dourghty Cunningham of Massena Central, a student in the Metalworking program, was selected as Rotary Student of the Year from among all of the Potsdam Rotary BOCES Student of the Month recipients for the 2019-2020 academic year. Cunningham received a $500 scholarship award from Rotary funded by proceeds from last year's Potsdam Rotary Scholarship Golf Tournament and Community Bank, N.A.
The Rotary Club of Potsdam Rotary Club was founded more than 90 years ago on the foundation of community service by business leaders in many professions. The club presents the monthly Rev. William and Crystal Cuthbert Vocational Excellence Award to Seaway Tech students selected from 15 programs.
If you'd like to support next year's awards, please consider participating in the 16th annual Potsdam Rotary Scholarship Golf Tournament on Friday, August 7, at the Potsdam Town & Country Club.
PHOTO CAPTION: Northern Insuring Agency donated $1,500 to the Rotary Club of Potsdam to assist in providing scholarships to students at the BOCES Seaway Career & Technical Education Center, despite the cancellation of the Rotary's annual scholarship gala. Left to right: Northern Insuring Agency Chairman Roderic G. Giltz, Senior Sales Executive and Gala Event Chair Beck Tessier, and Northern Insuring Agency Associate Vice President and Rotarian Tanya Krise.