Veterinary Scholarship Program Hoping to Expand

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Roy Thompson and Tarah Lucier are working to expand scholarship opportunities for Berkshire County students pursuing veterinary medicine.

ADAMS, Mass. — A local man wants to expand a scholarship fund that benefits Berkshire County high school students looking to pursue a career in animal medicine.

Roy Thompson, founder of the Adams Friends of Animals, is hoping to expand aid to aspiring veterinarians and veterinary technicians through the Roy Thompson Scholarship Fund.

"We are looking at two fold: education, which is important, and animals, which is a super big deal to me," Thompson said this week.

Thompson and his partner in the effort, Hoosac Valley High School teacher Tarah Lucier, have recently moved the scholarship onto Facebook, where they hope they can reach more people and receive more donations.

"I think the biggest thing is to make people aware of what we are, what we do, and how they can get involved," Lucier said.

Lucier is spearheading the scholarship's online presence and is trying to turn the Facebook page into a community hub where people can not only donate, but share pictures of their animals or stories about their pets.

The ultimate goal is to aid as many students as they possibly can, she said.

"You are going to find kids going into animal medicine all over the place," Lucier said. "If we can reach more people in Berkshire County and make them aware of it, the pot will be bigger and we can help more kids."

Thompson started the Adams Friends of Animals in 2008. After two unsuccessful attempts of creating a dog park in Adams, he created an animal food pantry for people who cannot afford to feed their pets.

With help from the Berkshire Humane Society, Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter and the Bark 'N Cat, the pantry became a hub for animal lovers, and those who needed help feeding their furry companions. The pantry is still in service and receives many donations from businesses.

Thompson created the scholarship in 2012. Originally only Northern Berkshire students were able to receive the $200 scholarship but it has now grown to encompass all Berkshire County high schools and higher amounts of money. Six students have benefited from the scholarship.

Thompson said he recently visited a farm purchased by one of the scholarship students. He said it was great seeing the scholarship money working.

"That's what I love," he said. "I love animals so much, and to see somebody making progress … is sensational to me."

Thompson said raising more funds will not only benefit students, but will help expand the account. If they can raise $25,000 they become eligible for management through the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, which will administrate and expand its funding.

As an educator, Lucier thinks it is critical to help out students pursue their dreams in any way possible.

"Being a teacher to be able to see the kids in our county be successful and go somewhere I think is huge," she said. "I don't see every one of my seniors go to college every year, but I do see them being passionate about things and if there is anything we can do to help them go forward with what is important to them I think that is awesome."

Donations can be made to the Roy Thompson Scholarship through the organization's GoFundMe account, which is linked to the Facebook page. People can also directly donate money to the organization's account at Greylock Federal Credit Union in Adams.

Tags: domestic animals,   pets,   scholarships,   veterinarian,   

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