VFW kick-offs VOD, Patriot Pen contests

CRYSTAL FALLS—Commander Shannon Reinke of the Tufts-Rondon Post 2891 has announced the kick-off of this year’s VFW’s Voice of Democracy Scholarship and Patriot’s Pen competitions.
    The Patriot’s Pen youth essay competition is designed for middle school students in grades 6-8 to have the opportunity to compete and win thousands of dollars in national awards.
    The Voice of Democracy Scholarship competition is for high school students to have the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C.
    The VFW enacted the Patriot’s Pen competition in 1995 to encourage young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society by composing a 300- to 400-word patriotic-themed essay. The theme for the 2018-2019 competition is “Why My Vote Matters.”
    Students begin by competing at the local post level. Post winners advance to district competition with district winners advancing to the state competition. State first-place winners compete for their share of thousands of dollars in awards, and the national first-place winner is awarded $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
    Each year, more than 125,000 students participate nationwide. Deadline for student entries is Oct. 31 and interested students and teachers should contact VFW Post Tufts-Rondon 2891 by phone at 875-6594 for more information. For more details, visit www.vfw.org/PatriotsPen.
    In the Voice of Democracy Scholarship competition, students must write and record a three-to-five-minute essay on the selected theme using an audio CD or flash drive and present their recording, typed essay and completed entry form to their local VFW Post by Oct. 31.
    The 2018 theme selected is “Why My Vote Matters.” Students begin by competing at the local post level, then post winners compete at the district level with the winner advancing to the state competition.
    All state first-place winners receive a four-day trip to Washington, D.C., and the chance to compete for their share of more than $150,000 in scholarships. The first-place winner receives a $30,000 college scholarship.
    The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) started the Voice of Democracy Scholarship program in 1947. The VFW became a national sponsor in the late 1950s and assumed sole responsibility for the program in 1961.
    The competition was created to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves regarding democratic ideas and principles. Around 40,000 students participate in the competition each year and VFW awards more than $2.1 million in educational scholarships every year.
    Interested students and teachers can contact scholarship chairperson Diane Donahue at 906-774-5831 or visit www.vfw.org/VOD.