The Caldwell Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Picnic in the Park fundraiser on Thursday, April 29. All of the proceeds and donations benefited the Caldwell Chamber Senior Scholarship.

Applications were made available through the Caldwell County high school guidance and counselor office, and the deadline for the application was Feb. 25.

This year, there were 26 student applicants; recipients are announced during Class Night, May 18 at 7 p.m. in the fine arts building.

The school encourages all students to apply for the scholarship. In 2019, two $500 Caldwell Chamber Senior Scholarships were awarded to two seniors.

“It gives more than just one student a chance to benefit from it,” Chamber Board President Morgan Rousseau said.

Whitni Boitnott, Caldwell County high school guidance registrar, said there were roughly 80 scholarship opportunities available for the class of 129 seniors this year.

The chamber forms a scholarship committee that evaluates all applicants and identifies key components that demonstrate community involvement, academic achievement, responsibility and maturity, and other roles a student may fill during their high school career.

This particular scholarship has very few requirements, which makes it more inclusive for the student population. Rousseau and others understand that some students are bogged down with part-time jobs, caretaking, and other duties that aren’t necessarily conducive to student success.

Initially, the Picnic in the Park was scheduled to take place at Olszewka Park, but the weather did not permit outdoor activities. Instead, it was hosted at the Princeton Tourist Welcome Center, and indoor dining and networking were encouraged.

The event closed out early at 1:30 p.m. after selling out of food. Rousseau said they bought enough food to serve 300.

The $5 sack lunches were available for pre-order as well as pick up.

“We had a great group of board member volunteers,” Rousseau said.

Local sponsors included Planter’s Bank, First Southern National Bank, Farmer’s Bank and Trust Co., Caldwell County Farm Bureau, Attorney Jeff Rousseau, Walmart, McDonald’s, and Dairy Queen.

Other fundraisers and programming the chamber organizes are golf scrambles and small business Saturdays. Future programs the is working on are chamber after hours, and a chamber loyalty program.