Scholarship competition open to high school students

Illinois State Commander W. Dave Stout of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW, Department of Illinois recently announced the kickoff of this year’s VFW’s Voice of Democracy Scholarship competition.

Local high school students have an opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C.

Students must write and record a three-to-five minute essay on the selected theme using an audio CD or flash drive and present their recording, typed essay and completed entry form to their local VFW post by Nov. 1.

The 2016-17 theme is “My Responsibility to America.”

Students begin by competing at the local post level with an entry deadline of Nov. 1.

Post winners compete at the district level with the winner advancing to the state competition.

All speeches are judged based on the sound recording submitted.

All first place state winners receive a four-day trip to Washington, D.C., and the chance to compete for their share of more than $150,000 in scholarships. The national first place winner receives a $30,000 college scholarship.

The National Association of Broadcasters started the Voice of Democracy Scholarship program in 1947.

The VFW became a national sponsor in the late 1950s and assumed sole responsibility for the program in 1961.

The competition was created to provide students in grades 9 through 12 with an opportunity to express themselves in regard to democratic ideas and principles.

Around 40,000 students participate in the competition each year and VFW awards more than $2 million in scholarships every year.

Interested students and teachers are advised to contact the Voice of Democracy chairperson at their local VFW post, the state VFW headquarters at or visit for more information.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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