RANDOLPH, NJ - The Patriots Pen (Middle School) and Voice of Democracy (High School) contests are here. The theme for this year's contest is "What Makes America Great." The following deadlines are pertinent:
October 31, 2020 - Student entries to be received by the post - this is a hard deadline set by National.
What Is Patriot’s Pen?
Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. We invite you to join the more than 120,000 students who participated last year in this contest. The national winners will receive at least $500. The first-place national award is currently $5,000 plus an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the winner and a parent or guardian.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has again approved this contest for its National Advisory List of Contests and Activities.
Big National Prizes
National awards total: $55,000
Prizes include the various amounts listed below:
How Does the Contest Work?
Individual students may submit their entry directly to the Post. This participating Post should be within your local area and within your U.S. state of residence.
The contest consists of four levels. The first level (entry) is sponsored by local VFW Posts. Post winners advance, one for every 15 entries, to the VFW District (regional) level where the one first-place winner is advanced to the VFW Department (state) level. The one first-place winner at the Department level is then advanced into the VFW national competition. The winner from each Department (state) then competes for the national prizes.
Who Can Enter?
Patriot’s Pen is open to 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private or parochial schools in the U.S., its territories or its possessions. Home-schooled students also are eligible. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U. S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence (the application which has not been denied) and intends to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law. Dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools can participate, too. (Foreign exchange students and former winners that placed in the National contest are excluded from the contest.)
What Is The Voice of Democracy Program?
Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is, What Makes America Great.
Why Should I Enter?
Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, state and national level. Department (State) winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., Feb 29 - March 4, 2020, to tour the city, be honored by the VFW and its Auxiliary and receive their portion of $154,000 in national awards, the top scholarship being $30,000.
Who can enter?
The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12 by the Oct. 31 deadline, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence (the application for which has not been denied) and intends to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law. Foreign exchange students, students age 20 or over, previous Voice of Democracy first place state winners, GED or Adult Education Students are ineligible.
What do I need to enter?
Record your original 3-5 minute (+ or – 5 seconds max.) essay on an audio CD or a flash drive. One student per CD or flash drive. When burning your CD, make sure that “Create Audio CD” option (or similar) is selected so the program can properly convert your sound file and burn it to CD. After it has finished, be sure to play back your audio CD on a system other than your computer, such as a standard radio or car CD player, to verify that the conver- sion/burning process was successful. You will submit the recording, typed essay and this completed entry form. Provide these items to your school/group competition or local VFW Post for judging. In addition you can submit your emailed entry form, essay, and audio file to the VFW Post upon approval. You must be the sole author of your essay. The recording must be in your own voice and in English. Hearing/speech impaired students should email the Voice of Democracy National Office at email@example.com for special instructions. No music, singing, poetry or sound effects are allowed. The body of the essay must not identify you in any way, (including, but not limited to, your name, school, city, state, race or national origin) although the recording & typed essay should be labeled with your name, to show ownership. You may enter only one competition at one Post (if otherwise eligible) per year. At any time during the contest, additional participant personal information could be requested by the VFW, including but not limited to a photograph, SSN or biographical information.