Legislature OKs Mohawk fund investment

  • Graduating members of the class of 2018 wait to receive their diplomas during the Mohawk Trail Regional High School commencement ceremony in Buckland on Sunday, June 3, 2018. Recorder file photo

  • Vibrant foliage rises behind the Mohawk Trail Regional High School as the field hockey team plays against Smith Academy in fall 2016. Recorder file photo

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/16/2018 5:56:56 PM

BUCKLAND — Both the state House and Senate have agreed on special legislation that would allow the Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s treasurer to invest the Carl H. Nilman Scholarship Trust Fund to earn more money for future scholarships. The Nilman Fund was established in the will of Carl H. Nilman, a former Buckland resident, to allow part of the income earned from the fund to be used for post-high school scholarships for Mohawk graduates from the nine member towns.

One of those graduates, Sen. Adam Hinds (then of Buckland), was awarded a Nilman scholarship in 1994.

Carl Nilman (1908-1988) was raised on a farm in Buckland, learned about the motion picture business and got a job with Warner Brothers Films. For five years, he traveled to Japan, Panama, Puerto Rico and Mexico, installing theater and sound equipment. He brought these skills back to Franklin County, where he opened indoor and outdoor theaters in the 1940s and 1950s. One of his theaters was in Memorial Hall (where Pothole Pictures is now) and another was at the old Mohawk Trail Drive-in on Route 2.

Nilman believed in education — not just for college-bound, straight-A students. The requirements for getting a scholarship were for students to be a Mohawk graduate in good standing and for the scholarship to be used for “post-high school education or training.”

The annual scholarship now has about $1.1 million in assets. The fund has an oversight committee of local residents and a school committee member. According to state law, the Nilman money can only be put into state-approved investments.

The legislation was filed in December by Hinds and state reps. Stephen Kulik and Paul Mark at the request of Mohawk school officials. After being reviewed during a public hearing and receiving a favorable report, the bill was supported by the House of Representatives in May and by the Senate on Monday. Final enactment of the bill by both the House and Senate is still required before the bill goes to the governor.

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