Left: Brodie Price, HVAC/Plumbing Service Technician and Chris Stone, President, Hyde-Stone Mechanical Contractors. Brodie is a past Community Foundation scholarship recipient. Photo provided.

“A college track isn’t for everyone. Don’t give in to the pressures of college unless you are certain that it’s the best route to achieve your goals and worth the expense. Just do what is right for you as you are the only one who knows what is best. –Brodie Price

Brodie Price graduated from LaFargeville Central School in 2018. Today, he is helping keep our community running, literally. As a HVAC/plumbing service technician with Watertown-based Hyde-Stone Mechanical Contractors, he is a critical link in supplying a valuable resource for businesses and organizations of all types. Equipped with vital skills and certification successfully obtained through educational opportunities at Jefferson-Lewis BOCES, he was able to enter a career that is both fulfilling for him and critical to our workforce.

Brodie joins the growing ranks of those who have earned scholarship assistance in their pursuit of something other than the “traditional” post-secondary educational path. The Northern New York Community Foundation’s roots are deeply embedded in education. In its nearly 92–year history, the largest cumulative investments have been in support of students seeking to better themselves, and ultimately their community. Of the many scholarships donors have made possible, most are for graduating high school seniors attending two- or four-year colleges or universities. Each year, approximately 500 students receive some form of help from our donors and partner school districts predominantly in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.

However, a trend has emerged in the types of new scholarships being established. Many donors are increasingly motivated to help students who are not necessarily following a“traditional” path. They know these students aren’t typically eligible for as many other forms of financial aid. They recognize that a healthy community benefits from a varied and skilled workforce. They understand that education has never been a one–size–fits–all proposition. They also know what many of those same students know: with specific skills and trades, there is often greater access to today’s in–demand and well-paying jobs. Jobs that are becoming increasingly critical to enable businesses and organizations to fully function. With increasing reliance on technology, our economy will rely ever more on a diverse and varied skillset that often only comes through hands-on experience.

Community Foundation has long supported students pursuing trade, technical and vocational advancement and it also has programs specifically to support and uplift students who are not seeking higher education immediately after high school. Sometimes known as “nontraditional” students, they are often adult learners who had a break in their education after high school. For these students, this also comes with the added pressures of family and work commitments. Generally, these students are also committing a significant portion of their own personal resources toward their education. They also tend to have established roots in our local communities and often have begun strengthening relationships with local employers. This means they are more likely to remain in our community.

Ultimately, our mission, in alignment with our donor’s wishes, is to change and shape lives while building a better community. There are many ways to accomplish this. Being mindful of education in the broadest sense reaps benefits for our region and its citizens. I believe, too, that the amount of the gift isn’t as valuable as the statement a scholarship makes in the belief in the potential of someone you may have never met. We are grateful for the diversity of donors and the various ways they seek to invest in the future, today. They uplift others to reach further for a better tomorrow than they might have imagined they could. It is most likely all of us, in one way or another, have been helped along our journey by someone who believed we could make ourselves and our world a better place, with a perpetual wave of positivity and contributing to a robust and healthy workforce and economy.

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