What is the Voice of Democracy Program?
Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, nearly 57,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is, America: Where do we go from here?
Why Should I Enter?
Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, state and national level. Department (State) winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, to tour the city, be honored by the VFW and its Auxiliary and receive their portion of $154,000 in national awards,
the top scholarship being $30,000.
Who can enter?
The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12 by the Oct. 31 deadline who are enrolled in a public private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence (the application for which has not been denied) and intends to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law. Foreign exchange students, students age 20 or over, previous Voice of Democracy first place state winners, GED or Adult Education Students are ineligible.
What do I need to enter?
Record your original 3-5 minute (+ or – 5 seconds max.) audio essay and submit the recording, typed essay and completed entry form to your school/group competition or local VFW Post for judging. In addition you can submit your emailed entry form, essay, and audio file to the VFW Post upon approval. You must be the sole author of your essay. The recording must be in your own voice and in English. Hearing/speech impaired students should email the Voice of Democracy National Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for special instructions. No music, singing, poetry or sound effects are allowed. The body of the essay must not identify you in any way, (including, but not limited to, your name, school, city, state, race or national origin) although the recording and typed essay should be labeled with your name, to show ownership. You may enter only one competition at one Post (if otherwise eligible) per year. At any time during the contest, additional participant personal information could be requested by the VFW, including but not limited to a photograph, SSN or biographical information.
Participant Agreement for Students Advancing to National Level
If selected as a first-place state winner, I have the consent of my parent/guardian and school to attend the Voice of Democracy National Finals in Washington, D.C, as a guest of the VFW National Organization. In consideration for permission to participate in the National Voice of Democracy Competition (“Competition”) I do hereby, for myself, for my heirs, executors, administrators and assignees, waive, release and discharge all rights and claims which I have or which may hereafter accrue against the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) and/or the Departments (state organizations) of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and their respective officers, agents, successors and assigns from any damages which may be sustained by me in connection with my participation in or association with the Competition and/or arising out of any travel related to the Competition. In the event of sickness, accident or injury in connection with the Competition, I consent to and accept the services of a duly licensed medical, surgical or dental specialist selected on my behalf and for such treatments, as they may deem necessary. I understand that VFW will not be liable for such treatment. I further understand that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States retains non-exclusive rights to use my audio file, essay, name and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization’s programs and activities.
Where Do I Submit My Entry?
All entries begin at the local VFW 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. Individual students may submit their entry directly to the Post. This VFW Post should be within your local area and within your U.S. state of residence. Entries sent to VFW National will be returned. One winner for every 15 entries from each Post advances to District and one District winner advances to the state (Department) competition. If you need help findng a participating VFW Post in your area, follow these instructions: First, visit this website vfw.org/FindaPost to “Find A VFW Post.” Be sure this Post is within the state you reside in. If you do not have success in findng a Post, or if you have trouble getting in touch with them, you can contact your VFW Department (state) office to see if they can offer any information or assistance. You can visit this link https://www.vfw.org/ContactUs/ and look for “Find a State Contact” to get your VFW state office’s phone number and email. If you still need assistance, please email us at VFW National Headquarters at email@example.com
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, Oct. 31, 2021. It is the responsibility of the student to meet this deadline by submitting their entry to the proper location by ensuring it is a participating Post.
What Are the 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 another.
Delivery is worth 35 points:
Speak in a clear and credible manner.
This Year VFW Post 1 will be taking entries via this form this year. Online and paperless.
This Program will fill out the form for you and you can submit your file's via the Internet as easy as that.