VFW Now Accepting Applications for its Annual Youth Scholarship Contests

Middle and high school students compete for share of awards totaling nearly $3 million

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is now accepting entries for its 78th annual 2024-2025 Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen youth scholarship competitions. This year’s themes ask America’s high school students “Is America Today Our Forefathers' Vision?” while middle school students will have the opportunity to contemplate, “My Voice in America's Democracy?”

Empty Podium MicEstablished in 1947, the VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions help encourage a better understanding and appreciation for America and work to foster patriotism among today’s youth. The programs also offer friendly competition as well as reward success in the form of individual scholarships and awards totaling more than $3 million at the national, state and local levels.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition is open to high school students in ninth-12th grades, with the national first place prize scholarship totaling $35,000. The first place Department (state) winners receive a special Parade of Winners trip to Washington, D.C., sponsored by Twisted X, where they compete for more than $170,000 in national scholarship awards. Nearly 22,000 high school students worldwide compete in the competition each year. This year’s winner, Sophia Lin, is a junior at BASIS Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, and was sponsored by Scottsdale VFW Post 3513. Listen to her read her award-winning audio-essay during the 2024 Parade of Winners ceremony at the VFW’s annual Washington Conference.

Open to middle school students in sixth through eighth grade, nearly 55,800 students participate annually in the Patriot’s Pen essay competition. Bryant Day, the 2023-2024 Patriot’s Pen first place winner, was sponsored by VFW Post 9943 and its Auxiliary in Mansfield, Ohio. Listen as he delivered his award-winning essay.

Student entries may be submitted (along with a completed entry form) to their local participating VFW Post. The deadline for both contests is Oct. 31, 2024.

Read more about the contests, or submit your essay and entry form at your local participating VFW Post.