Concord-Carlisle High School
Class of 1982
By the time I was a senior in high school, my older brother and two older sisters had all gone off to college. I knew college was important for my future opportunities. I was playing lacrosse and discussing with my family how to make college work financially. My dad was a science teacher and coach at the high school, and with three kids already in college, my parents had already remortgaged the house a couple times. Finances were tight. The reality of a college education was a real stretch. I applied for all the scholarships I could in order to piece together enough financial resources to make at least the first year possible, and then figure out the rest from there. The scholarship I received from The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle wasn’t just a token. Since I would be the fourth kid in my family in college, it was not only needed but much appreciated.
As it turned out, I was able to attend the University of New Hampshire. At the beginning of my freshman year, I walked on to receive a spot on the football team. As a result, for my next three years I received a full football scholarship. My scholarship awarded by The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle got me launched in my first year of college. That first year was so critical – just to show up. The rest wouldn’t have happened otherwise. So those scholarships that first year helped launch me into the subsequent full football scholarship that covered the remainder of my college education.
When you are eighteen, you don’t think about how many things will play out later in your life. I was a liberal arts major, and I studied history. I didn’t have grand plan. My first year was a catalyst to fund college through an athletic scholarship. My academic education was great, but I also got so much from my whole college experience: the lessons that come from athletics, competition, work ethic, perseverance, and time management. All of that is what really helped me launch into the work world.
Right out of college in 1986, I started working in staff recruiting in the field of information technology. I cut my teeth for three years working in a small company in Boston when it was still a pretty new business. I then started my own business, also in the same field, but I incorporated a team cooperation concept because I’d always grown up with the team concept in sports. It grew from three people to 500 by the year 2000, and it became a national staffing company that remains in business today. It took a lot of hard work, but the teamwork and collaboration allowed us to really push ourselves. We have hired a lot of student athletes, building that business and along the way launching some software start-ups also in IT services.
In 2001 I had the opportunity to sell the business, which freed up my schedule. I had always had a dream to be teacher and coach, and after selling the business I was able to volunteer as a Concord-Carlisle High School Freshman Head Football Coach. Eventually I was named Varsity Assistant Coach and Junior Varsity Head Coach. When the position of Varsity Football Head Coach opened up a few years later, I applied and was very fortunate to be hired. It is really great realizing that dream. My dad coached football for about twenty years at Concord-Carlisle High School, and I am proud and very happy to be walking in his footsteps.
When I grew up in Concord, the town was less anonymous than it is today, with lots of families having lived many generations in town. Getting my scholarship from The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle felt very personal to me; I really felt the community was behind me. It was a reinforcement of that hometown feeling, with people contributing to the community through The Scholarship Fund and genuinely helping kids in need. That is one thing that I love about Concord and why I still live here. It is also why I became involved as a Trustee of The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle around the year 2000, as I take a lot of pride in having grown up in this community.
I was a Trustee on the Board of The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle for several years, and it was great. Growing up, our family didn’t have a lot of treasure, but we had some time and talent, and our parents taught us to give what we had to the community. I enjoyed the Phonathon most, working with the Concord-Carlisle High School students who were giving their time, many of whom would become applicants of The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle themselves. It was great to hear the community reacting, mostly positively, sometimes not so much. I am an action-oriented guy, so the Phonathon was right up my alley: a little time for a lot of value. I am not fond of a lot of meetings, but I enjoyed meeting new people while I was on The Scholarship Fund Board and seeing the other Trustees working so hard, being responsible custodians of those funds, administering them and making them grow. I was very much honored to be asked, and it was a great experience.
My siblings and I established The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle Charles A. (Al) Robichaud Scholarship in my dad’s name in the early 2000s, to honor him and to give back, as we are people who benefitted personally from The Scholarship Fund. It is important to us to give back as we can. We all love and respect both of our parents. My dad taught and coached at Concord-Carlisle High School for a long time, and lots of kids came back to visit him at school or home, telling him how much they appreciated him, and often bringing their own kids to meet him. He is a pretty remarkable person, and we wanted to recognize and honor him, as well as to do our part to give back and help empower the next generation.
I really appreciate the way The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle supports a wide range of students in need. Of course it gives scholarships to students going to four-year schools, but also it supports students, some with extreme need, who go to community colleges and technical or trade schools, to follow such careers as becoming an electrician or a dental hygienist. It is great that The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle helps support kids with diverse educational objectives to help them achieve their career aspirations and prepare them for their futures.
My dad gets notified about the scholarship recipients of his named fund every year, meets them at the annual brunch of The Scholarship Fund, and gets wonderful thank-you letters from the kids. My dad is so proud that there are kids benefitting, and he reaches out to the kids and is thrilled to meet them and hear about them. It is a really big thing for him, and he is truly honored.
I’ve noticed that the number of named funds in The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle has increased dramatically in recent years. I’d like to think that another family might see a scholarship in my dad’s name and that it might catalyze them to also establish a fund in the name of a loved one, to benefit others in perpetuity, and to feel the joy that our family has felt as well.