SPARTA, NJ – Members of the Sparta VFW are once again, offering a scholarship to Sussex County veterans, spouses and dependents of veterans.  The Ralph Rojas scholarship is also available to active duty military personnel and their dependents stationed at Picatinny Arsenal and Sussex County students who have been accepted into an ROTC program or a Service Academy or School, according to Commander Peter Litchfield.

The scholarship is funded by private donors and the Sparta VFW Post # 7248.  It is intended to assists the selected student in their pursuit of a technical trade school program or an undergraduate or post graduate degree.

Students can apply online and will be from $1000 to $2000 per recipient based on available funds. In addition to the application form, an essay is required. 

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The Ralph Rojas scholarship is named for a Korean War Veteran who passed away in September 2017 at the age of 84.  After Korea, Rojas worked at Picatinny Arsenal, retiring in the 1980’s. Retirement did not slow him down,

Rojas was active in the Sparta VFW including running the annual Christmas tree sale along with his sons as well as the Elks Lodge, American Legion and St. Thomas of Aquin church in Ogdensburg.

The fund was established in 2017 with the help of attorney Jackie O’Donnell, herself the daughter of a retired Naval Intelligence Captain.  

Students can apply online and will be from $1000 to $2000 per recipient based on available funds. Recipients will be selected by the Scholarship Committee to confirm military qualifications and evaluate character and academic achievement, according to Litchfield.

Applicants may also have a phone or in-person interview, if the selection committee deems necessary.  Recipients will be notified with a congratulatory email. 

“Recipients will receive a check that can be applied to educational related expenses such as tuition, books and fees,” Litchfield said. The scholarship is required to be used in the next academic year.  

In addition to the scholarship application form, an essay is required.  The one-page, single-spaced essay should describe;

  • The applicant’s academic goals,
  • The applicant’s connection to the military and it’s influence on their pursuit of the scholarship,
  • How the military has affected or is expected to affect the applicant’s character,
  • What impact will the scholarship have on the applicant’s pursuit of their goals.

They also need to include a signed letter of recommendation or character reference.  Litchfield said it can be from a teacher, supervisor or director of an organization.

High school students will need to include their transcript.  Proof of acceptance into a school along with the applicants goals or intended major. The application package should be mailed to Sparta VFW Post #7248, 66 Main Street, Sparta or email