COOPERSTOWN — Robert Clarke Bassett believes in giving back.
The great-nephew of Dr. Mary Imogene Bassett, founder of Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, came to the hospital complex Thursday to recognize two Cooperstown Central High School seniors for their academic achievements and leadership potential.
Those going home with $500 scholarship checks from the Charles H. Bassett Youth Foundation were Caley Sky-Shrewsberry and Abigail L. Brown, both 17
Sky-Shrewsberry will be attending Boston University in the fall, where she said she plans to study mathematics and history, while Brown said she will pursue a degree in environmental engineering at Cornell University. Both young women have been involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities while enrolled at Cooperstown.
The Youth Foundation is named in honor of Robert Bassett’s father, the late Charles Bassett, a prominent attorney who was a native of Tioga County.
Robert Bassett, a native of the Syracuse area, moved to Anchorage, Alaska, 37 years ago to develop an outdoor adventure program aimed at diverting youth away from the criminal justice system.
A Dartmouth College graduate who holds a law degree from Syracuse University and a master of education degree from Boston University, Clark spoke to the youth and their families about the importance of learning from their ancestors. He also spoke of the importance of persistence, resilience — the ability to overcome setbacks — and the determination that it takes to achieve goals in life.
“For young people to be successful they need a source of pride and confidence,” he said, “and that can come by being recognized for their hard work in their accomplishments.”
He added: “They can also develop that through their own life, by looking within their family for what their ancestors and other folks have accomplished, and that should be a source of pride for them, as well as other people who inspire them.”