Essay contest to encourage and reward self-expression


September 14, 2023

Local VFW posts will soon hold three essay competitions: the Voice of Democracy for grade 9-12; the Patriots Pen for grades 6-8; and the Youth Essay for grades 3-5. Students are invited to write essays based on given patriotic themes; the essays are evaluated by the local post. Last year, first, second, and third place winners of the essay competition were recognized with certificates and a total of $1,725 in cash awards from Wahkiakum Post 5297.

Established in 1947, the Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the opportunity to express themselves by means of a recorded essay. Each year, nearly 25,000 students grades 9-12 from across the country enter to win their share of more than $1.3 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program. The national first place winner receives a $35,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college, or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships ranges from $1,000-$21,000, and the first-place winner from each state VFW Department wins a scholarship of at least $1,000.

Each year, nearly 68,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first-place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000.

Students in grades 3-5 enter the youth essay contest. After winning 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place at the Post level, one winner from each grade is submitted to District 16.

All winners receive certificates of recognition and cash awards.

Applications for all the essay competitions are being distributed by the Wahkiakum School District. Students must turn in their essays by midnight October 31 st .


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