YOUTH EDUCATION

 

The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $30,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Voice of Democracy

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 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $1.9 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 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, then download and complete the 2019-20 entry form.

For a printable flyer for students and parents, please click here: /uploads/Documents/Voice of Democracy/VoiceofDemocracy9-1210047Flyer.pdf 

 All student entries must be submitted to SVC@VFW10047.com by midnight, Oct. 31. If you do not get a confirmation email back, it has not been turned in and call 702-499-8236.

The 2019-20 theme is: 
What Makes America Great


About the 2018-19 winner ...

Christine Troll, a senior home-school student from Somerset, Pa., was named the 2018-19 Voice of Democracy first-place winner. Christine's speech on the theme, "Why My Vote Matters," won her a $30,000 college scholarship. Christine was sponsored by VFW Post 554 and its Auxiliary in Somerset, Pa. Watch as Christine delivered her winning speech.

Want to catch up on everything that happened this year? You can watch the Parade of Winners ceremony from the 2019 VFW Legislative Conference, see this year's complete list of winners, or listen to the winning essay from your state. 


 Patriots Pen winner
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Patriot's Pen

Each year more than 111,000 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 $900,000 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 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. 

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, then download and complete the 2019-20 entry form.

For a printable flyer for students and parents, please click here: /uploads/Documents/Patriot's Pen/PatriotsPen6-810047Flyer.pdf


All student entries must be submitted to SVC@VFW10047.com by midnight, Oct. 31. If you do not get a confirmation email back, it has not been turned in and call 702-499-8236.

 

The 2019-20 theme is: 
What Makes America Great


About the 2018-19 winner ...

Daniel Rodriguez, a sixth-grade student from Nogales, Ariz., was named the 2018-19 Patriot's Pen first-place winner. His essay on the theme, "Why I Honor the American Flag," won him a $5,000 award. Daniel was sponsored by VFW Post 2066 in Nogales, Ariz.

Watch as Daniel delivered his winning essay, or see the complete list of 2019 national winners.

 

Teacher of the Year

 

Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn't be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.

The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a certified/licensed elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Winners receive:

  • A $1,000 award for professional development expenses.
  • A $1,000 award for his/her school.
  • Two award plaques: one for the teacher, the other for his/her school.
  • An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award. 


Please review the rules and eligibility requirements and nominate a teacher you know by submitting the 2019-20 nomination form to SVC@VFW10047.com by midnight, Oct. 31. If you do not get a confirmation email back, it has not been turned in and call 702-499-8236.

Looking to share updated information and materials on VFW's Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen and Teacher Award programs? Share our National Scholarship Brochure with the students and educators in your community.


 

And the 2018-19 Teacher of the Year winners are ...

TOTY Elementary Winner

Bobbie Schamens, a fourth-grade teacher at Meadowview Intermediate School in Sparta, Wisc., was named the elementary school winner for her efforts in recognizing the service and sacrifice of her hometown’s military families. Schamens’ personal experience as a military spouse has helped her teach students civic responsibility, patriotism and proper flag etiquette. She organizes cards for military care packages and recognizes local military and veteran families with a military tribute case near her classroom. Schamens’ students also visit the state capital to experience history and our government first hand. VFW Post 2112 and its Auxiliary in Sparta, Wisc., sponsored Schamens.
 

TOTY Middle School Winner
Representing the middle school level is Anne Martin, a seventh-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Williams Middle School in Tracy, Calif. She was selected because over her 24-year career, Martin has used her experience as a Gold Star family member to help her students and community better understand the sacrifices made by America’s military and veteran families. Martin’s work includes organizing school-wide campaigns to collect donations and thank you letters for deployed troops, and coordinating the school’s annual Patriot Day celebration which includes a patriotic door-decorating contest. She also oversees the school’s Associated Student Body elections, helping students understand and navigate the democratic process. VFW Post 1537 in Tracy, Calif.,
sponsored Martin.

TOTY High School Winner
Kevin Wagner, an advanced placement history teacher at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, Penn., was chosen to represent the high school level for his dedication to honoring the memory of America’s veterans. Through his "Silent Heroes” project, students explore the life and service of a local World War II veteran killed at Normandy and create a webpage preserving their legacy. Last year Wagner’s project expanded to identify local Vietnam War veterans, leading to the construction of a Vietnam Wall of Honor which displays the names of more than 213 veterans and 10 flag cases in honor of the former students killed during the war. VFW Post 477 and its Auxiliary in Carlisle, Pa., sponsored Wagner.
 

 

Attention Teachers:

 NASSP Logo

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2019-20. We thank all of America's teachers and youth leaders for the time, effort and commitment they invest in our young people each year. We have a number of ways in which to assist you in helping to ensure your students get a head start on their future.

Get Acquainted with VFW's Programs

National Scholarship Programs Brochure

 

Want these flyers in a PNG form to post on Social Media?  Here they are:

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