Vfw Veterans Essay

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

Email:          vfwpost9934@cox.net

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.

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

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.

 

Lindi Compton, an eighth-grade student, was named the 2016-17 Patriot’s Pen first-place winner. Her essay on the theme, “The America I Believe In,” won her a $5,000 award. Lindi was sponsored by VFW Post 5813 and its Auxiliary in Greensburg, Ky.

PATRIOT’S PEN

Each year more than 125,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $50,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.

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.

 

YOU TOO CAN WIN!

WHO CAN ENTER: The Patriot’s Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8 who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial 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

Email:          vfwpost9934@cox.net

The 2017-18 theme is: America’s Gift to My Generation

Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition. Then students can contact VFW Post 9934 and establish a contact person who is a member of that Post or Auxiliary.

Deadline — The completed essay and entry form must be in the hands of the VFW Post Chairman by midnight October 31, 2017.

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.

WHAT ARE THE RULES?

  • Essay length: 300-400 typewritten words.
  • You must write your own essay.
  • All essays should be typewritten in English with no color or graphics and cannot be less than 300 words or greater than 400 words in length. (Essays under or over these word amounts will be eliminated.) Every word is counted regardless of length. The essay title (theme) or added footnotes do not contribute to the word count.

In no way may contestants identify themselves in their essay. Do not put your name on your essay. The entry form is your essay’s cover sheet. Secure the Official Student Entry Form with a staple or other fastener on top of your essay. Essays must be written exclusively for this competition. Use of the same essay for other competitions will result in disqualification. Contestants are allowed to enter only once (one Post competition). Contestants found in violation of this rule will face elimination from the competition and will be required to return any and all prize money awarded or received.

The essay must be a contestant’s original work and a product of the contestant’s own thinking. The approach to the Patriot’s Pen theme should be positive and clearly focused. Poetry is not acceptable. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified wherever used. A contestant’s teacher, counselor or parent may check the essay for punctuation, grammar and/or spelling, but the content must remain the contestant’s. Contestants will be judged on the basis of their essay alone and are not required to present the essay orally. All essays become the property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW retains non-exclusive rights to use your essay and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization’s programs and activities.

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