BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – On Saturday, the West Virginia Elks Association held a conference at the Bridgeport Conference Center to award scholarships to students. 

The WV Elks Association awarded three different types of scholarships, they had seven national winners of the most valuable student’s scholarship, and they also had 22 state winners of the most valuable student scholarship, while also awarding six legacy scholarships.

Members of the association say they gave more than $80,000 in scholarships to high school students from across the state. Elks officials also added that not only do they help and support veterans but also the youth to further their education into adulthood. 

“Gee, when we give a scholarship to a kid, that kid is going to come back to the community or a community somewhere and become a leader. What more can we do in life ourselves? What a wonderful legacy we can pass on just giving a scholarship,” said James Nichelson, a past Elks Association National President and a sponsor of the State of West Virginia. 

Nichelson also stated there are scholarships, youth awards, and teen of the year at with 19 Elks lodges in the state giving out their own local scholarships as well. Across the country, there are more the 17 hundred lodges giving their own scholarships to teens. Elks National Foundation gives more than five million dollars a year in scholarships. 

“Since I’ve been the state chairman, I actually do get usually through LinkedIn or whatever and a student will be one that received a scholarship and will say that they’ve completed their education, what they’re doing now, and they are looking for an Elks Lodge to give back, you know because they were helped out,” said Nanci Hovermale, WV Elks Association State Scholarship Chairman. 

Elks officials said that leadership learned is leadership gained, and that teens and young adults will do great things through leadership in the communities they reside in while in college and throughout their adult life.