Voice of Democracy
Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.
The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Voice of Democracy Rules and Eligibility
WHO CAN ENTER The Voice of Democracy Program is open to students in grades 9-12 (on the Oct. 31 deadline), who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories.
HOW TO ENTER Download the Voice of Democracy entry form and brochure to submit your essay to your local VFW Post. Students should record their reading of the draft to an audio CD or flash drive. The recording can be no shorter than three minutes and no longer than five minutes (plus or minus five seconds). Entries begin at the Post level. Once the student creates their essay and completes burning the audio version to an audio CD/flash drive, they can submit their typed version, CD/flash drive and the Voice of Democracy entry form to their local participating VFW Post by the Oct. 31 deadline.
JUDGING CRITERIA Originality is worth 30 points: Treatment of the theme should show imagination and human interest. Content is worth 35 points: Clearly express your ideas in an organized manner. Fully develop your theme and use transitions to move smoothly from one idea to the other. Delivery is worth 35 points: Speak in a clear and credible manner.
Post Level Winners
Submit Entry to
1501 LaSalle St Ottawa, IL 61350
Deadline October 31st!!
The 2018-19 theme is:
Why I honor the
Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level.
The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.
WHO CAN ENTER The Patriot's Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8 (on the October 31 deadline), who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial school or home study program in the United States and its territories.
HOW TO ENTER Download and complete the Patriot's Pen entry form and brochure. Essays must be no less than 300 words and cannot exceed 400 words. They should be submitted to the VFW Post, along with the completed Patriot's Pen entry form no later than the October 31 deadline. Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition.
JUDGING CRITERIA Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points. You must show a thorough knowledge of the theme in your work. Demonstrate you have researched the issue extensively. Theme development is worth 35 points. Answer all relevant facts about the theme such as the who, what, where, when and why. Relate the theme to your own experiences. Clarity of ideas is worth 35 points. Write your essay in an easy-to-understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of your explanation of the theme.
Post Level Winners
Submit Entry to Ottawa VFW 1501 LaSalle St Ottawa, IL 61350 By October 31st !!