Black Dirt scholars

PINE ISLAND. Chamber awards three $1,500 scholarships to students who demonstrate a commitment to and involvement in their community.

Make text smaller Make text larger


  • Pictured from left to right are: Black Dirt Scholar Ava Ghobadian, Sondra Hall, Black Dirt Scholarship founder and co-chair, and Black Dirt Scholar Sophia Citarella.

  • Photos provided by Peter Lyons Hall Joe Maggio, Black Dirt Scholarship Committee member and the treasurer of the Pine Island Chamber, with Black Dirt Scholarship winner Eric Bodeker.

The Pine Island Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2019 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.

Each winner also receives two tickets to the Black Dirt Feast to be held on Aug. 6 where they will each speak about their education and career plans.

Ava Ghobadian

During the annual senior awards night held at Warwick Valley High School, Ava Ghobadian was awarded for Environmental Microbiology.

In her application essay Ghobadian wrote:

“As humans we are afraid of failing simply because we do not know how to recover from the aftermath. Those who do not try, by definition never fail; it is OK to fail as long as you learn quickly and do not make the same mistake twice.”

She will be entering Cornell University in a biological science curriculum in September.

Sophia Citarella

Meanwhile, Sophia Citarella was awarded for Culinary Arts and will be studying at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

She said she believes that she “can contribute to society by becoming a personal chef focused on providing meals for people with unusual dietary restrictions."

Eric Bodeker

At John S. Burke Catholic High School Baccalaureate Awards Dinner, Eric Bodeker was awarded for Physical Therapy.

He will be attending Sacred Heart University.

“While playing multiple sports, I eventually suffered physical injuries,” he wrote, “that would take me out of my season for a period of time. As I learned recovery methods, I began to understand how I could help others by going into the health profession.”


The Black Dirt Scholarship is funded with a portion of the proceeds from the Black Dirt Feast. The feast was conceived 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.

Founded in 1961, the mission of the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce is 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.

Make text smaller Make text larger


Pool Rules


The best and brightest
On May 29, local education and the business community joined to celebrate the valedictorians and salutatorians from each of the school districts in the Orange-Ulster Supervisory...
Read more »

WOOFstock performance raises more than $8,500 for new Warwick animal shelter
On Saturday, June 8, about 500 visitors enjoyed an all-day live music performance by popular bands like New York Retro Rocker, Way Behind The Sun, The Armonia Band, The Ric...
Read more »

Warwick Fire Department weekly report
The following is the Warwick Fire Department’s call report for the week ending June 9, provided by 2nd Assistant Chief Mike Contaxis:

Read more »

Warwick Warwick Sports Camp Kicks Off this Summer
Warwick Valley Athletics is hosting its first annual multi-sports camp July 8-12 from 9 a.m. to noon each day.
Any students in the Town of Warwick, grades 3-7 this upcoming...

Read more »


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers


Warwick, NY