VFW honors Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy winners

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 4, 2019

Dawn Burleigh, Editor

Usually, there is one speaker at events such as award ceremonies. However, on Thursday night, the VFW Loyalty Awards Dinner had several speakers – the winners of the annual Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy winners.

Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. 

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. 
This year’s theme was ‘Why I honor the American flag.’

The 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 $2.1 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., according to vfw.org

Crissa Slaughter is awarded second place in the Voice of Democracy contest at the VFW Post 2775 on Thursday night.

This year’s theme was ‘What makes America Great.’

At the local level, Patriot’s Pen first place winner Lauren, a student at St. Mary’s School was presented with a plaque and $150.

Voice of Democracy second place winner was Carissa Slaughter. Slaughter is in the 12 grade at Bridge City High School. She was presented with $200.