Voice of Democracy
Each year, nearly 40,000
high school students from across the country enter to win a share of $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
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.
Grayson Campbell, a senior at Covenant Christian School, was named the 2015-16 Voice of Democracy 1st-place winner.
Grayson's speech on the 2015-16 theme, "My Vision for America," won him a $30,000 college scholarship which he plans to apply toward his college career. Grayson was sponsored by VFW Post 10555 and its Auxiliary in Panama City Beach, Fla.
Read Grayson's speech.
Watch Grayson deliver his speech.
See a list of all 2016 winners.
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:
Click here to access the Voice of Democracy 2016-17 entry form and brochure.
To view the complete list of national scholarship awards available, click here.
If you experience problems with downloading or printing the
application, please try to access the entry form using Internet
Explorer. If you continue to experience problems, please contact
the VFW National Headquarters at email@example.com for
The 2016-17 theme is: My Responsibility to America
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.
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.
Read the previous winning essay from 2015.