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.


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 kharmer@vfw.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.

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