FREWSBURG - Nathen Peterson can empathize with future Frewsburg Central School graduates who may be struggling with the loss of a parent.
However, Peterson, a 2012 graduate of Frewsburg, is going above and beyond empathy by creating a scholarship for these Frewsburg graduates.
Founded by Peterson and his family, the Marcia A. Conrad Memorial Scholarship was established to honor Peterson's mother - who passed away eight years ago. An annual scholarship, it is intended to alleviate the financial hardship that comes from the loss of a parent, while allowing recipients to seek higher education.
According to Peterson, who is currently pursuing a degree in hospitality management through Jamestown Business College, he and his family decided the most logical way to honor his mother's life was to create a scholarship.
"It was an obvious choice to choose a graduate who has lost a parent because it happened to us, and we wanted to help them," said Peterson. "Our first year, we want to do $500. That's our goal. (In the future), we're looking at making it larger or offering more (scholarships)."
Peterson said students will not need to apply for the scholarship, as any student who fits the criteria will be automatically considered. In instances of multiple or no student eligibility, he said the scholarship would then be given on the basis of financial need.
"Every year, no matter what, we will give away a scholarship," he said.
To raise funds for the scholarship in its first year, Peterson is hosting a chicken dinner benefit at the Carroll Rod and Gun Club on Saturday. While several other activities for the evening are planned, attendees must purchase a $15 ticket for the dinner, which will run from 4-6 p.m. The dinner will include barbecue chicken, salad, multiple side dishes and a cash bar.
According to the Marcia A. Conrad Memorial Facebook page, the goal for the number of dinners sold is 75. All proceeds from the dinner will go toward the scholarship fund.
"We're selling the tickets now," Peterson said. "You don't need a ticket to attend - they are just for the chicken dinner. And we have a bunch of people bringing sides."
Other activities at the benefit will include a 50-50 giveaway, a Chinese auction and a door prize - which ticket holders will automatically be entered to win. Peterson said multiple drawings for the giveaways would be dispersed throughout the evening, which he anticipates will last until at least 10 p.m.
"We have a lot of businesses that have donated for the Chinese auction, so we have a large selection there," Peterson said.
Currently, items available in the Chinese auction include: gift baskets; a hand-frosted mirror; a hand-painted saw; and gift cards for the Dinner Bell, Salon One, Frewsburger Pizza Shop and Frewsburg Wine and Spirits. A Kwik Fill gas card was also donated by Terminal Collision.
Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Stray Kat Karaoke and DJ. Live music is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m.
To buy tickets for the Marcia A. Conrad Scholarship benefit, or to learn more about the scholarship, contact Nathen Peterson at 450-9112.