News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 28, 2022
Former scholarship recipients reflect on their experiences

by Samantha Ngai

Barbara Blake-Chapman

Barbara Blake-Chapman graduated from the University of Maine in Orono in 2009 with a degree in business. Blake-Chapman worked part time to cover most of her expenses throughout college, and the scholarship definitely eased some of the burden. “This scholarship gave me so much financial assistance and helped me not have such a lofty bill at the end of my college experience,” she said. “ If it weren’t for the yearly help from this scholarship, I don’t know if I would have graduated in 4-1/2 years.”

Today, Blake-Chapman is an analyst for Northern Light Health’s Revenue Cycle Department. Although her interest in computers began during her time in college, her degree is not directly related to her job. “I found that what you learn in school sometimes isn’t as easy to apply in the real world as what you think it may be.” Yet she has still found that there have been many other “key things” that she learned in college that apply to her current role.

Blake-Chapman encouraged all Brooksville students to take advantage of the scholarship. “It is an amazing resource,” she said. “They’ve been able to help many students through the years and hope to help even more in the future.”

Ben Freedman

Ben Freedman attended the University of Colorado and graduated in 2007. He highlighted the importance of the Brooksville Education Foundation Scholarship in helping to pay for his education. “BEF doesn’t cover it all, but it’s a brick in the wall,” he said.

Freedman is currently a firefighter in Ellsworth and was formerly a firefighter in Colorado and Portland. Although his profession is not directly related to his college education, having a degree offers him “more opportunities both in and out of the fire service.” To this day, he is grateful to the scholarship program and is proud to still be a part of it. “I’m proud to be from a place that values the education of their young people so much.”

Nicole Bakeman

Nicole Bakeman attended Bucknell University’s music program and graduated in 2016. Ten years after receiving the scholarship for the first time, Bakeman is excited to help others benefit from the BEF. “I am happy to be able to give back and contribute in the same way that I had originally received,” she said. Today, Bakeman owns her own business tuning and repairing pianos and is also an apprentice under Frank Fischer of Precision Piano, with whom she maintains Kneisel Hall in Blue Hill.

Bakeman emphasized the importance of financial assistance for Brooksville students. “There’s need in this area for money for education,” she said. “Without a doubt.” She explained that many Brooksville students are affected by “seasonal or sporadic income,” as well other financial roadblocks, but are still deserving of a chance at secondary education. “Their families have contributed to the fiber of Brooksville,” she said.

Bakeman urged all students to reach out to the board and apply for the scholarship. “If you have any questions about the scholarship, application or materials required, and even if you feel you do not qualify but would like to apply for the scholarship, please reach out.”

Ben Freedman

Brooksville Education Foundation Scholarship recipient Ben Freedman, now a firefighter, with his daughter.

Photo courtesy of Ben Freedman
Nicole Bakeman

Brooksville Education Foundation Scholarship recipient Nicole Bakeman, pictured with Frank Fischer, is now a piano tuner.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Birch
Barbara Blake-Chapman

Brooksville Education Foundation Scholarship recipient Barbara Blake-Chapman and her husband, Rodney, at her graduation from University of Maine at Orono.

Photo courtesy of Barbara Blake-Chapman