The Jamie Clouser Memorial Scholarship will be awarded each spring to one or more college bound seniors from Charles O. Dickerson High School in Trumansburg, New York. Please scroll down for more information...
Jamie grew up on Pennsylvania Avenue and attended Trumansburg schools throughout his childhood. Despite a very slim frame, he became an accomplished athlete through a combination of grit, intelligence, and exceptional hand-eye coordination. In his senior season he helped lead Trumansburg’s basketball team to a 15-6 record and hit a school record nine three pointers (on twelve attempts) in the team’s final game against the defending state champions. That spring he won the IAC and Section IV Class C tennis championships. He graduated in 1999 as the Salutatorian and gave a moving and stunningly prescient commencement speech that was published in the Ithaca Journal.
Jamie attended Bucknell University and graduated with a degree in Computer Science in 2003. He began his career at a US Defense Contractor but left within a year after he and his roommate created a “bot” that could play Texas Hold ‘Em poker against real players online. They named their program Milton after the character in “Office Space”. The walls of Jamie’s apartment were soon lined with ten foot stacks of computers playing poker by themselves next to pictures of Milton holding a red stapler (“I was told there would be cake”). This continued until partypoker.com finally realized that the two dozen players on the same Hoboken IP address, all playing 24 hours-a-day, were probably not legitimate. In 2005 Milton was put out to pasture after a glorious year-and-a-half run. Inspired by “Legends of the Fall”, Jamie assured us that “It was a good death.”
During this time, Jamie was playing quite a bit of beer pong, which was a curious hobby choice considering he didn’t really like the taste of beer. He created a website called “Challenge the Champ” where he offered 10-1 odds against any and all challengers in a best-of-seven match on his roof. Opponents flew in from all over the country for a shot at “The Champ”. His record in these matches was 85-2. After gaining a reputation as one of the best beer pong players in the country, he was featured in the 2009 film “Last Cup - Road to the World Series of Beer Pong”.
Shortly after filming wrapped on the movie, Jamie was diagnosed with a brainstem glioma and quickly became very ill. Over the next two years he battled through surgery and several treatments and eventually made a full recovery. During this time he was inspired to become a lawyer while watching the HBO show “The Wire”. He was particularly moved by a character named Bubbles who struggles with heroin addiction while falling through the cracks in Baltimore’s criminal justice system. Shortly after graduating from Fordham Law School in 2015, Jamie serendipitously met Andre Royo, the actor who played Bubbles, at a party in New York. Jamie shared his story with Andre and the two shared an embrace. At the time, Jamie was working at the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender and soon thereafter launched his own practice focused on defending and advocating for the underserved.
In 2016 Jamie’s cancer returned, but he continued to work even as he battled through another surgery and several more treatments. In his last few months, while paralyzed from illness, Jamie worked from a hospital bed to help file a Federal lawsuit that led to the release of Lawrence Bartley who had spent his last 27 years in prison.
When we discussed this scholarship with Jamie, he joked that it would be his version of “Scott’s Tots”, a reference to his favorite TV show “The Office”. That conversation personified Jamie’s attitude throughout his illness. He never complained, never asked why, and kept his sense of humor until the very end. He lived and died with Grace.
Unlike Scott’s Tots, we intend for this scholarship to be sufficiently funded in order to help Trumansburg graduates for as long as possible. Please consider donating and sharing this link on your Facebook page.
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