NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $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 principles.

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 a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

This year, 10th grader Benjamin Joback, is the winner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post 2856 Voice of Democracy competition. His speech went on to win the Veterans of Foreign War District 4 competition and his speech has advanced to the state competition.  The winner of the state competition will be announced at the end of January.