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PEPPERELL — The Pepperell Business Association will be increasing its scholarship awards from the Duck Race this year.

The annual event awards $500 scholarships to Pepperell graduates from the North Middlesex Regional High School and Nashoba Valley Technical High School. This year, Carole Babineau, who has been spearheading the event for the last seven years, has arranged to give out an additional scholarship to each school, six in total.

“Prices in education are sky high. Students are coming out of college with more debt than ever,” she said. “What we are giving does not go far, but it helps, even if the students only use it to buy a book or two.”

In the annual race, one $5 ticket gets the buyer one duck. Five ducks can be purchased for $20. The small, yellow rubber ducks are dumped into the Nissitissit River where they race downriver to a finish line.

Ticket proceeds go to cover the scholarships and, in addition, the ticket-holder of the first-place duck will win $1,000, the second-place duck, $200, and third-place, $100. A free pizza from C & S will be awarded to the last-place duck.

Babineau, her husband Chet, and other PBA members will be “gung-ho in the coming weeks” to sell tickets outside places including McNabbs, Pepperell Spa Cafe, Pepperell Family Pharmacy, Pepperell Music Center, Donelan’s, Dunkin Donuts and elsewhere.

“There are relatively good odds, better than the Megabucks,” said Chet Babineau, but he agrees with Carole, this year is special because the PBA is giving more to the kids.

“With the cost of education what it is, this event is important, if it weren’t for the money going to kids, I wouldn’t be working on it,” Carole Babineau said.

Next year, she hopes the event will get bigger yet again; her goal is to give $2,000 to each school.

“The PBA is always aiming to go higher with it,” Babineau said.

Ducks are being sold right up until the running of the race at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 10. That day, Babineau and other PBA members will be set up at the finish line at Shattuck Oil, 16 Groton St.

Follow Luke Steere at twitter.com/LSNashobaPub.

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