The Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary are accepting submissions for the annual Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen contests for 2008-2009. The national competitions foster patriotism by giving students an opportunity to express their opinions and responsibilities to our nation while improving their verbal and written skills.
The patriotic theme for this year’s Voice of Democracy audio essay competition is "Service and Sacrifice by America’s Veterans Benefit Today’s Youth By…." It is open to students in grades 9-12 under age 19. Contest rules call for a three-to five-minute original essay recorded on a standard audio cassette or CD.
The Patriot’s Pen theme for written essays is "Why America’s Veterans Should Be Honored." It is open to sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Students are required to submit a 300 to 400 word typed original essay.
Home schooled students are eligible, but foreign exchange students are excluded. Individual entries must be submitted directly to a VFW post. In cases where schools, classes or youth groups have large numbers of students and want to conduct their own competition, one winner for each 15 students will be submitted.
Completed entry forms with students work must be in the hands of the VFW post chairman no later than Nov.1 for judging at the local post level. Those winners will be judged at the district level, and the district winner will advance to state competition. State Voice of Democracy winners receive an all expenses paid four day trip to Washington, DC in March, sponsored by Target. Their entries will compete at the national level for scholarships and U.S. Savings Bonds.
The National Voice of Democracy top prize is a $30,000 scholarship, and the Patriot’s Pen top prize is a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond. Local post and district winners also receive awards and prizes, and state winners receive prizes and awards from the Florida VFW.
Brochures are mailed early in the school year to schools whose students previously entered the programs. Students or school personnel interested in participating should contact a local VFW post for entry forms and sponsorship information. More information, including entry forms, is at www.vfw.org under VFW Scholarship Programs or contact Liz Huber at 526-1880 about the Patriot’s Pen or contact Ernest McNeill at 482-8140 about the Voice of Democracy.