For the second straight year, First Lady Mary Pat Christie is holding the Spirit of a Hero Scholarship contest.

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The initiative rewards high school seniors for their community service.

"And we thought the best way to do that was to offer them a scholarship, in this case $5,000, to put towards their post-secondary education," Mrs Christie said.

Twenty students were chosen for the awards last year from over 700 applications. Contributions included delivering meals to the homeless and volunteering to help local families in need.

"So what we decided to do is highlight some of the folks, some in this case that are seniors in high school that are giving to their community," the First Lady said.

While the candidates must be in good academic standing and meet several criteria, Christie said this is not just a contest for straight-A students.

"It's more important to me to honor their dedication to the community and to service, and that's what we focus the actual scholarships on," she explained.

This program is funded through New Jersey Heroes, which honors work being doing done by individuals and organizations across the Garden State.

Application forms are available online. Applicants must fully complete the form by no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 21, 2014 or submit an application via US Mail postmarked no later than March 21, 2014 and mailed to NJ Heroes, P.O. Box 95, Mendham, NJ 07945-0095. Recipients of the scholarships will be notified in May.

"With any luck, maybe we can actually expand the program this year," Christie said. "So, we're hoping to be able to do that and we'll see where this year's crop takes us."

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