Collaborative announces $1,500 college scholarship winner

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LONDONDERRY — The Collaborative has named Emma Tobin as the inaugural Refuse to Use College Scholarship recipient.

Tobin is a 2020 Burr and Burton graduate, and 2016 Flood Brook School graduate, and embodied the program's mission and scholarship criteria, according to a press release.

Burr and Burton Academy presented Tobin the award at the school's pre-recorded scholarship awards ceremony May 26.

The Refuse to Use program is designed to help scholars make healthy choices and prevent substance misuse by providing a healthy alternative, paired with education about healthy lifestyles and emotional-well being. It builds connections with the people and organizations that make our community great.

In the fall of 2019, The Collaborative identified the value and importance to recognize a student's dedication and involvement in the program for all six years with offering a scholarship to a graduating high school senior who participated all six years in the Refuse to Use program.

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Tobin's application resonated with the scholarship review committee for the clarity of connecting personal health and wellness choices with being a peer leader and living as a young person embracing the program's mission.

"While at first I thought the only reason it was worthwhile to continue with the program was the pass, as I got older I could easily see how I gained so much more," Tobin wrote in her application letter. "I have learned helpful strategies in saying no to drugs and alcohol, how to not succumb to peer pressure, and what my healthy alternatives are. These are lessons that I will carry with me not just in my near future in college, but for the rest of my life."

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Jason Pergament, Refuse to Use volunteer representative for Burr and Burton Academy's senior class participants, said Tobin has been a model participant.

"Emma's participation in the Senior Refuse to Use curriculum this year was exemplary," Pergament said. "Her final paper and presentation on the power of snowboarding as a tool to combat substance abuse and foster mental health is exactly why Refuse to Use exists in collaboration with Stratton Mountain. Emma has been a model participant in the program her entire time at Burr and Burton and has set a positive tone and strong target for the 11th graders to strive for next year."

The Refuse to Use program augments the health and wellness education and events at Long Trail School, Burr and Burton Academy, Leland and Gray Union Middle and High School, The Dorset School, Manchester Elementary Middle School, Maple Street School, Mountain School at Winhall, and the Flood Brook School.

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The program in 2019-2020 had more than 400 participating students plus their parent/caring adult. Students in grades 7th - 12th attending these schools can participate. Students take a pledge to remain substance-free and attend five events, participating students' parent or caring adult pledges to support their student's decision and attend two events.

The incentive based program allows students to choose a pass to Magic Mountain, Riley Rink at Hunter Park, Viking Nordic or Stratton Mountain Resort. Students who successfully complete the program receive a season pass to Dorset Summer Theatre.

Students registered in the Refuse to Use program take part in five educational events that focus primarily on substance misuse education and emotional-well being. These targeted lessons help to engage students to make healthy choices for themselves. Senior-level Burr and Burton students deviate from the core structure of the program and engage in their own research project aimed to connect the mission of the Refuse to Use program with a special interest. Emma Tobin's project about the health benefits of snowboarding was a fine example of physical well-being supporting a healthy lifestyle.

Planning for the coming year of Refuse to Use is underway. The annual Kick Off is scheduled for Sept. 27. Get updates on Facebook or online at


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