Appreciation dinner held in Canton recognizes students, honors founding donors

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Back row, from left: Abigail Paro, Edwards-Knox Central School, environmental science; Arianna Whittaker, Hugh C. Williams High School, Canton, neuroscience; Ethan Northrop, Clifton-Fine Central School, robotics engineering; Nolan Parow, Harrisville Central School, civil engineering; Leon Lufkin, Potsdam Central School, applied mathematics; and John Erdman, Gouverneur Central School, aerospace engineering. Front row, from left: Jillian Chapman, Massena Central School, biology/pre-med; Alexa McKee, Lisbon Central School, chemistry; Charles Owens, Gouverneur, Evergreen STEM Scholarship founder; Karli Thompson, Lisbon Central School, biology; Maria Allen, Madrid-Waddington Central School, biology.

CANTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — Ten St. Lawrence County high school students were recently honored as recipients of the Northern New York Community Foundation Evergreen STEM Scholarship.

Students earned the scholarship due to their interest and intent to study in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field while in college. Students applied while in their junior year of high school and were selected during the summer. Recipients are each members of the Class of 2020 and will receive a one-year $3,000 scholarship toward their freshman year of college next fall.

The Evergreen STEM scholarship is made possible through the generosity of Gouverneur residents and Massena natives Charles Owens and his late wife, Higouhi “Hi” Owens. The scholarship is a permanent fund of the Community Foundation and provides $30,000 annually for high school students who live in St. Lawrence County.

Students had the opportunity to meet and thank Mr. Owens, his son, Bruce, Albuquerque, N.M., and his daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Michael Hosier, Auburn, N.Y., for their generosity. Parents and school guidance counselors and administrators also attended. A special tribute to Hi Owens was given during the evening. She passed away earlier this year and remained devoted to supporting the Evergreen STEM program until her passing.

“As we welcome the fourth year of recipients, the impact this program has had upon students in St. Lawrence County becomes increasingly evident. This is a legacy that will extend indefinitely through the students it helps each year and all those students will do to make our world a better place,” said Rande Richardson, Northern New York Community Foundation executive director.

This year’s students are interested in pursuing careers in aerospace, robotics and construction engineering, wildlife biology, medicine, optometry, neuroscience, and chemistry.

Mr. Owens and his wife established the scholarship at the Community Foundation in 2014 to inspire high school students to pursue post-secondary studies and careers in STEM. Mr. Owens spent his professional life as a pharmacist and later in senior management for Kinney Drugs, retiring in 1994. The first scholarships were awarded in 2016. During that time, others have made contributions to help build the permanent fund.

2019 Evergreen STEM Scholars:

  •     Maria Allen, Madrid-Waddington Central School; intended major: biology; career interest: optometry
  •     Jillian Chapman, Massena Central School; intended major: biology or pre-med; career interest: medical
  •     John Erdman, Gouverneur High School; intended major: aerospace engineering; career interest: engineer
  •     Leon Lufkin, Potsdam Central School; intended major: applied mathematics; career interest: robotics engineer
  •     Alexa McKee, Lisbon Central School; intended major: chemistry; career interest: undecided
  •     Ethan Northrop, Clifton-Fine Central School; intended major: engineering; career interest: robotics engineer
  •     Abigail Paro, Edwards-Knox Central School; intended major: environmental science; career interest: wildlife management
  •     Nolan Parow, Harrisville Central School; intended major: civil engineering; career interest: construction engineer
  •     Karli Thompson, Lisbon Central School; intended major: biology; career interest: medicine
  •     Arianna Whittaker, Canton High School; intended major: neuroscience; career interest: undecided

About the Northern New York Community Foundation

Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Through strategic partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the community. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.

The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.

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