Voice of Democracy
Each year, nearly 40,000
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
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 an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Madison Haley, a senior at Mount Pulaski High School, was named the 2013-2014 Voice of Democracy 1st-place winner.
Her speech on the 2013-2014 theme, "Why I'm Optimistic About Our Nation's Future," won her a $30,000 college scholarship which she plans to apply toward her college career. Madison was sponsored by VFW Post 777 and Ladies Auxiliary in Mount Pulaski, Ill.
Read Madison's speech
Listen to all 2014 national winners
Watch Madison deliver her speech
See a list of all 2014 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
The deadline for submissions for the 2014-15 program was November 1, 2014.
The entry form for the upcoming 2015-16 contest will be available on March 1, 2015.
The 2015-16 theme is: My Vision for America
Students should record their reading of the draft to a CD. 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 a CD, they can submit their typed version, CD 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 2014.