Youth Scholarships

The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $30,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you.

VOD winner

Voice of Democracy

 

Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program. 

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements and download the entry form and brochure before you submit your entry at your local VFW Post. 

 

The 2017-18 theme is: 
American History: Our Hope for the Future

 

About the 2016-17 winner ...

Savannah Wittman, a senior at Bret Harte High School, was named the 2016-17 Voice of Democracy first-place winner. Savannah's speech on the theme, "My Vision for America," won her a $30,000 college scholarship which she plans to apply toward her career in veterinary medicine. Savannah was sponsored by VFW Post 12118 and its Auxiliary in Copperopolis, Calif.

Watch Savannah deliver her speech, read her essay, or see the complete list of 2017 winners.

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Patriots Pen winner

Patriot's Pen

Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $54,500, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. 

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements and download the entry form and brochure before submitting your entry to your local VFW Post. 

 

The 2017-18 theme is: 
America's Gift to My Generation

 

About the 2016-17 winner ...

Lindi Compton, an eighth-grade student, was named the 2016-17 Patriot's Pen first-place winner. Her essay on the theme, "The America I Believe In," won her a $5,000 award. Lindi was sponsored by VFW Post 5813 and its Auxiliary in Greensburg, Ky.

Watch Lindi deliver her winning essay, read her essay or see the complete list of 2017 national winners.

Attention Teachers! 

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The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2016-17. We thank all of America's teachers and youth leaders for the time, effort and commitment they invest in our young people each year. We have a number of ways in which to assist you in helping to ensure your students get a head start on their future.


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Scholarship Programs Teacher Request Form