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YOUTH SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS

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 64,500 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $2 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. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, and download and complete the 2021-2022 Voice of Democracy entry form as all student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring local VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31.

 The 2021-22 theme is: 

"AMERICA:  WHERE Do We Go From Here?"


About the 2020-2021 winner ...

Erin Stoeckig, a high school junior from Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota, was named the 2020-2021 Voice of Democracy first place winner. Erin's speech on the theme, "Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?" won her a $30,000 college scholarship. Erin was sponsored by VFW Post 1215 and its Auxiliary in Rochester, Minnesota. Watch as Erin delivered her speech during the VFW's first-ever virtual Parade of Winners award ceremony, live on Facebook.

Want to catch up on everything that happened this year? You can watch the Parade of Winners ceremony which was streamed live on Facebook, see this year's complete list of winners, or listen to the winning essay from your state. 

 

Patriot's Pen

Each year more than 165,400 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000! 

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. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, and download and complete the 2021-2022 Patriot's Pen entry form as all student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring local VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31.

 

The 2021-22 theme is: 
"How Can I Be A Good American?"

About the 2020-2021 winner ...

Wyatt Perkins, a sixth grade home school student from Mayville, North Dakota, was named the 2020-2021 Patriot's Pen first place winner. His essay on the theme, "What is Patriotism to Me?" won him a $5,000 award. Wyatt was sponsored by VFW Post 4221 in Portland, North Dakota.

Watch as Wyatt delivered his winning essay, during the VFW's first-ever virtual Parade of Winners streamed live on Facebook, or see the complete list of 2021 national winners.


Scout of the Year

Some of our earliest ties to the community involve youth groups and perhaps none are stronger or more lasting than the relationship between the VFW and America's scouting organizations. In fact, our partnership with the Boy Scouts of America dates back to 1915 when VFW Post 2100 helped to establish Troop 1 in Everett, Washington.


Our Scout of the Year program provides members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who display standout citizenship, patriotism and love of country with the opportunity to be rewarded with college scholarships of up to $5,000. 

Before submitting your Scout of the Year application, please review the rules and eligibility requirements. Please download the 2021-2022 brochure and entry form to submit at your local VFW Post.

 

JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, and ROTC Awards 

Every year the VFW has awards for JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, and ROTC awards that are presented to cadets of these programs. The awards are nominated by their local command staff for having excellent leadership, academics, community service, and dedication. Our post currently supports presentations to Ola, Stockbridge, and Luella High School JROTC programs. We are happy to support more in Henry County for these programs. Please contact the post for more information.


VFW in the Classroom

 Every day, we strive to thank America's educators by providing them with helpful resources and encouraging our members to visit local classrooms. Let us help you educate America's future leaders and bring history to life! 

Veterans play an important role in educating our nation's youth about the founding principles upon which America was founded. As combat veterans, VFW members can provide students with a unique perspective about the sacrifices America's service members make to maintain freedom for all of us.

When visiting a classroom, a VFW member will prepare a brief introduction, a main presentation and a Q&A session. Depending on the topic, a member may bring appropriate memorabilia, uniforms, photographs and other relevant material.

American history is something we all share, and there's no one better to help tell that story than someone who's had a great part in shaping it.

Contact our Post to arrange for a veteran to visit your classroom.

 

Teacher of the Year

Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn't be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.

Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects elementary, middle, and high school teachers to participate in the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher program.

Please review the new rules and eligibility requirements and download the 2021 entry form to nominate a teacher you know. Teacher nomination entries must be received at a local participating VFW Post by the Oct. 31 deadline.

Looking to share updated information and materials on VFW's Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen and Teacher Award programs? Share our National Scholarship Brochure (coming soon) with the students and educators in your community.