WHAT IS THE VOICE OF DEMOCRACY PROGRAM?
Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, almost 40,000 high school students compete for more than $2.1 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is,Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.
WHY SHOULD I ENTER?
Prizes and scholarships are awarded at the Post, district, state and national level. Department (State) winners receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., February 28 – March 4, 2015, to tour the city, be honored by the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary and receive their portion of $152,000 in national awards, the top scholarship being $30,000.
Who can enter?
The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or in an overseas U.S. military/civilian dependent school. Foreign exchange students, students age 20 or over and previous Voice of Democracy first place state winners are ineligible.
What do I need to enter?
Record your original 3-5 minute (+ or – 5 seconds max.) essay on a standard cassette tape or audio CD. One student per CD or cassette.Preferred format for CD’s is the audio CD format. When burning your CD, make sure that “Create Audio CD” option (or similar) is selected so the program can properly convert your sound file and burn it to CD. After it has finished, be sure to play back your audio CD on a system other than your computer, such as a standard radio or car CD player, to verify that the conversion/burning process was successful. Label the recording, neatly typed essay and attach this completed entry form. Provide these items to your school/group competition or local
VFW Post for judging. All recordings must be in your own voice. Hearing/speech impaired students should contact the Voice of Democracy National Office at (816) 968- 1117 for special instructions. No music, singing, poetry or sound effects are allowed. The body of the essay must not identify you in any way, although the recording & typed essay should be labeled with your name, to show ownership. You may enter only one Voice of Democracy competition per year.
Where do I submit my entry?
All entries begin at the Post level. The only exception is where schools/classes/youth groups have large numbers of students and wish to conduct their own competition, submitting one winner for each 15 students to the local VFW Post competition. Individual students may submit their entry directly to the Post providing they have not competed at a school/class competition. One winner for every 15 entries from each Post advances to District and one District winner advances to the state (Department) competition. State winners are invited to Washington, D.C where their essays compete in the finals competition. If you need help finding a participating VFW Post in your area, call (816) 968-1117, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.vfw.org, and selecting the “Find a Post” Option.
For the 2014–2015 school year, the VFW essay contest themes are:
• Voice of Democracy – “Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future” http://www.vfw.org/VOD/
- Patriot’s Pen – “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans“ http://www.vfw.org/PatriotsPen/
- Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award – Any theme that illustrates commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students.
Entries must be submitted by 01 November 2014 to a local VFW Post.
The nearest location in Niceville is the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 112 building, at 920 Hospital Drive (behind the Chamber of Commerce building on John Sims Parkway, near Pet & Horse Supply in Palm Plaza).
More details, including examples of winning essays from previous years, may be found on the national VFW website at www.vfw.org/Community/Programs/.
The members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Kent Purcell Post #10090 greatly appreciate your support.
Category: Academics , Activities , Events , Extracurricular Activities , General
Savannah Wittman, a senior at Bret Harte High School, was named the 2016-17 Voice of Democracy first-place winner. Savannah’s speech on the theme, “My Vision for America,” won her a $30,000 college scholarship which she plans to apply toward her career in veterinary medicine. Savannah was sponsored by VFW Post 12118 and its Auxiliary in Copperopolis, Calif.
Each year, nearly 38,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition.
The VFW established the Voice of Democracy program (VOD) in 1947 to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideas and principles.
The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each (state) VFW Department wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
A California student from Copperopolis was the first place winner of the 2016-17 contest.
YOU TOO CAN WIN $30,000!
WHO CAN ENTER The Voice of Democracy Program is open to students in grades 9-12 (on the Nov. 1 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
Contact VFW Post 9934 for additional assistance and a copy of the entry form.
Telephone: (949) 248-1419
The 2017-18 theme is: American History: Our Hope for the Future
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 VFW Post 9934 by the October 31 deadline.
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
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR MY ENTRY?
All entries competing at the Post level must be in the hands of that VFW Post by midnight, October 31, 2017. It is the responsibility of the student to meet this deadline by submitting their entry to the proper location.
VOD Prepares You for Life
For Stephanie D’Abruzzo Shemin, one-time Department of Pennsylvania winner, VOD was a milestone in her life.
“What VOD did was prepare me for college and the real world. I saw how I could find my place in this world outside the plastic bubble that is suburban public high school,” Shemin said. “Little did I know, while I was writing about America’s freedom and independence that it was the beginning of a new chapter in my life — one of personal freedom and independence.”
Shemin graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in speech. She is currently a Muppet performer with the Jim Henson Company, working for such shows as Sesame Street.
Meet People and Build Confidence
VOD enables you to meet your peers from all walks of life.
Furthermore, it can have a tremendous impact on your future.
“The whole Voice of Democracy program was an experience that still is with me,” said Gary Belkin, a national VOD winner. “I’m now 36, a psychiatrist and ethicist at Harvard and Brown Medical schools where I teach, and also am finishing a doctorate in history at Harvard.”
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has again approved this contest for its National Advisory List of Contests and Activities.