Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 64,500 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.
The national first place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000. Applications for the 2022-2023 competition will be available soon. Read the rules and eligibility requirements, and find your sponsoring local VFW Post as applications must be turned in by midnight, Oct. 31.
The Voice of Democracy Program is open to students in grades 9-12
enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private, parochial school, or
home study program in the U.S., its territories or its possessions.
Dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools are
also eligible to participate.
Download the Voice of Democracy entry form and brochure to submit
your essay to your local VFW Post.
Students should record their reading of the draft to an or flash
drive or sharable file through email. The recording can be no shorter
than three minutes and no longer than five minutes (plus or minus five
Entries begin at the Post level. Once the student creates their essay and
completes recording their audio onto a flash drive or other recording
device, they can submit their typed version, audio and the Voice of
Democracy entry form to their local participating VFW Post by the Oct.
Judging Criteria - Originality is worth 30 points: Treatment of the theme should show
imagination and human interest.
Content is worth 35 points: Clearly express your ideas in an organized
manner. Fully develop your theme and use transitions to move
smoothly from one idea to the other.
Delivery is worth 35 points: Speak in a clear and credible manner.