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.
This Year's Topic: My Vision for America
First Prize is $30,000!
Who May Enter
The Voice of Democracy Program 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 and its territories.
How To Enter
Click here to access the Voice of Democracy 2017-18 entry form and brochure.
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 their local participating VFW Post by the November 1 deadline.
November 1, Student entries to the Post
November 15, Completion of Post judging
December 6, Completion of District judging Department Chairmen
January 7, Completion of Department judging
January 15, District participation reports to National
January 15, Department winners to National
January 31, Department reports to National
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.Type your paragraph here.