Calling All Middle and High School Students

Essay entries must be submitted through a participating VFW Post

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For students looking for scholarships to help lessen the financial burden college brings, it’s not too late to participate in the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions. 

Empty Podium MicOpen to eligible high school students, the Voice of Democracy program is one of the top patriotic audio essay competitions in the nation, with more than $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives up for grabs, and a first place prize of $30,000. More than 64,400 students participate in the competition each year. This year’s theme challenges students to answer the question, “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?”

Open to eligible sixth through eighth grade students, more than 165,400 students compete in the Patriot’s Pen essay competition each year to win their slice of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. The top individual VFW Department (state) winners are vying for the first place prize of $5,000. This year’s Patriot’s Pen theme asks “What is Patriotism to Me?”

Check with your local Post for submission deadlines. For more information on the VFW’s youth essay competitions and how to enter, visit