SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield Elks #2298 will award six vocational scholarships to eligible students who plan to further their education in the vocational/technical field in 2017-2018.

Those eligible for the lodge’s Bob and Antoinette Eckenstein Vocational Scholarship is available to students who, within one year of earning a high school diploma or a GED, plan to attend a post-secondary school to pursue a certificate or credential in a vocational or technical program. Those attending a two-year community college are also eligible so long as they are pursuing a certificate or credential. Students planning to earn either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, however, are not eligible. Additionally, one must be a New Jersey resident and citizen of the United States on the date the application is submitted.

This year, the Elks hope to award a total of $5,000, with $2,500 allotted between both males and females who garner first, second and third place.

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“The Elks are a charitable organization and we are dedicated to helping to kids in the community,” Peter Smith, committee chair for the Eckenstein Vocational Scholarship Fund and past president of the New Jersey State Elks Association. “I myself am blue collar and work in the vocational field and there a not a lot of opportunities available for students who attend vocational schools.”

The Bob and Antoinette Eckenstein Vocational Scholarship Fund was established in 2015 and, according to Smith, named in honor of the Eckensteins because of their dedication and involvement with the Elks for many years. The late Bob Eckenstein, a member of the Elks for more than 30 years who served as an Exulted Ruler and former Secretary, and his late wife Antoinette, a member and president of the lodge’s Ladies Auxiliary.

 “They always did all they could to help those less fortunate,” Smith said. “Our goal is to fund this scholarship so that we can continually support the youth of South Plainfield.”

All applications for this year’s Bob and Antoinette Eckenstein Vocational Scholarship must be returned to the South Plainfield Lodge 2298, 1254 New Market Ave. South Plainfield, NJ 07080. Applications will be accepted between April 3 and May 12. Applications will be available through the guidance office at South Plainfield High School and at vocational high schools throughout Middlesex County. For additional information, or to obtain or submit a scholarship application, contact Peter Smith at; if emailing, please note ‘Vocational Scholarship’ in the subject line.