Every year, nearly 230,000 of our nation's youth compete in the VFW's Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen audio essay competitions for their chance to win a portion of more than $3 million in college scholarships and awards.
The competitions culminate with the Parade of Winners event, designed to celebrate and recognize the contests’ top national winners.
This year, the VFW will be hosting its first-ever, virtual Parade of Winners on April 1 at 7 p.m. CDT, live on Facebook. Be sure to visit the VFW Facebook page, select the Virtual Parade of Winner event, tap "interested,” then "going” to ensure you stay up-to-date and receive all event notifications and reminders.
Join us as VFW and VFW Auxiliary state and national leadership, representatives from program sponsors Twisted X and Dell, and this year’s 52 Voice of Democracy Department (state) winners come together from all over the world as we crown the 2021 national Voice of Democracy first place winner.
This year’s event will also include a few surprises and guest appearances from those well-known to the VFW community.
Open to eligible middle and high school students, the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions require students submit an essay based on a selected patriotic theme. Winning entries selected by local VFW Posts go on to compete at their District and Department (state) level, with state winners competing at the national level.
The Voice of Democracy top prize is the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship, and the Patriot’s Pen grand prize winner receives the $5,000 Paul A. Spera Past Commander-in-Chief Award.
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 64,500 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.
About the 2019-20 winner ...
Shruthi Kumar, a high school senior from Marian High School in Omaha, Nebraska, was named the 2019-20 Voice of Democracy first place winner. Shruthi's speech on the theme, "What Makes America Great," won her a $30,000 college scholarship. Shruthi was sponsored by VFW Post 1581 in Omaha, Nebraska.