This fund supports three annual scholarships, each with a specific eligibility criteria:

  1. The Sean Patrick French Memorial Scholarship
    Eligibility: High school seniors enrolled in the Chatham Central School District
  2. The Love of Running Scholarship
    Eligibility: High school seniors who reside in Columbia County and have participated for at least two seasons in cross-country or track and field
  3. The Section II Good Sport Scholarship
    Eligibility: High School seniors from NYSPHSAA Section II who competed in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championship Cross Country meet and were selected by NYSPHSAA Section II coaches as a recipient of the Good Sportsmanship Award


Sean Patrick French, a 17-year-old junior at Chatham High School, honor roll student, community volunteer and record-setting athlete, lost his life on Jan. 1, 2002, as a passenger in a drunk-driving car crash. The intoxicated driver, also 17, was a schoolmate who had been arrested previously for drunk driving, just 18 days before the fatal crash. This tragedy prompted the enactment of Sean’s Law on Jan. 1, 2003, that requires the suspension of a license upon the first arrest of a 16- or 17- year-old on drunk driving charges.

Following his death, the Sean Patrick French Scholarship Fund was established by his family to memorialize Sean and to recognize the positive achievements and character of deserving high school seniors. The scholarships must be used toward the costs of post-secondary education including two- or four-year colleges, and trade or technical schools. The fund was created using proceeds from Sean’s Run, an annual community event in Chatham, N.Y., and from contributions from individuals, businesses and community organizations

Beginning in 2002, for 18 consecutive years, neighbors, friends and families from far and wide came to Chatham every spring to run, walk, bike and more in Sean’s Run—an extraordinary community event with a special purpose to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and impaired driving. Beginning as an untimed 5K group run with 418 runners, Sean’s Run grew into a not-for-profit corporation that implemented and funded year-round projects and produced a weekend-long community event comprised of multiple activities that attracted over 2,000 participants and spectators. After 18 years, Sean’s Run Weekend left an inspiring legacy of programs funded, scholarships granted, and the Sean Patrick French Scholarship Fund.

Apply for this scholarship using our common application by March 15.