Woonsocket Rotary honors Robert "Rob" Pilkington, Ed. D., president and superintendent of Woonsocket's Beacon Charter School, as the recipient of the Vocational Service Award. The coveted award represents one of the four cornerstones of the Rotary Club. Rotarians are charged to uphold high ethical standards in all their vocational and professional practices, to recognize the worthiness of all use occupations and to consider their own occupation as an opportunity to service society. The Rotary Club of Woonsocket advances this idea through its Vocational Service Award, created to recognize and honor Rotarian or community members or business, which has through their work practiced in keeping the highest ethical standards and strived to help others.

The Beacon Charter School first opened in the fall of 2003. The school offers a unique education concept by combining a secondary-level college prep program with an arts and business program that focuses on visual, performing, and culinary arts. In 2005 Beacon Charter developed a strong partnership with Johnson and Wales University, experts in Business and Culinary Arts career/tech education. At that same time, Beacon also hired Robert Pilkington to redesign the school's academic and financial structures and to author the amendments needed to reopen the school. Under Dr. Pilkington's direction, the Beacon Charter School has won several awards including the US News and World Report's Bronze medals for being on the "Best of US High Schools" list for 2008 and 2009.

Dr. Pilkington is Rhode Island's most knowledgeable charter school authority, long time charter advocate and Past President and founder of the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools. In addition, Dr. Pilkington has also been involved with the development of the Advocacy for the Middle College Model Charter Schools, and currently Rhode Island Nurses Institute, an integrating health care pathway for BSN program enrollment and graduation.