VFW encourages participation in annual scholarship contests


TAYLOR COUNTY—With school back in session, some students will soon begin thinking about scholarships, and one local organization has some great ways for students to earn some money for school.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is an organization known to help veterans and their families, and when it comes to helping youths cover the cost of furthering their education, that is no different.

Students can earn money through various scholarship programs including the Patriot’s Pen, Voice of Democracy and the Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest.

These contests are open to any students throughout the county that are enrolled in public or private schools, as well as those youths that learn through homeschooling, and according to Polly Forman, VFW Post 3081 Auxiliary Scholarship Chairman, all students are invited and encouraged to participate.

“You don’t have to have a connection to the VFW to take part in these programs,” explained Forman. “Any and all students can enter these contests for a chance to earn some money toward schooling.”

The Patriot’s Pen Contest offers an opportunity for middle school students to express their views on an annual patriotic theme.

Open to sixth, seventh and eighth grades, participants can tie together America’s past with modern-day experiences, as they express their views in a 300-400-word essay. This year’s theme is “What is Patriotism to Me?”

Each year, over 138,000 students compete in the contest, in hopes of becoming the national winner, receiving a $5,000 all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state advances on to the national competition and will earn a minimum of $500 at that level.

Applications will be available at Taylor County Middle School and interested students should visit the counselor’s office to pick up their entry forms.

Submissions must be made no later than October 31, and may be turned in to VFW Post 3081, located at 225 West Main Street, Grafton.

High school students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to get their recorders ready for this year’s Voice of Democracy contest. During the audio-essay, students will focus on the country as it stands as they answer the question, “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?”

The Voice of Democracy program has allowed students to express themselves in a unique way, through a patriotic-themed recorded essay since its inception in 1947.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) revealed that each year, more than 51,000 high schoolers across the nation enter the contest in hopes of claiming their portion of more than $1.9 million in educational scholarships and awards. 

State first-place winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will have the opportunity to tour the city and will be honored by the VFW, along with a minimum $1,000 scholarship. 

The national first place winner is awarded a $30,000 scholarship that can be used at any American university, college, vocational or technical school, while other students who rank nationally will earn between $1,000-$6,000 in scholarships. 

Each student taking part in the contest is tasked with composing a three-to-five-minute audio essay on either a CD or flash drive. They must also submit a typed version of their essay. 

The deadline to apply for the Voice of Democracy is October 31, and Forman reported that signup sheets will be available at Grafton High School in the counselor’s office.

For a complete list of rules and entry requirements for the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen contests, please visit www.vfw.org/community/youth-and-education/youth-scholarships.

High school students are also invited to take part in the VFW’s Patriotic Art contest. Any students in grades 9-12, under the age of 18, are eligible to apply.

Artists will compete by entering either two or three-dimensional art pieces, which will be judged, and the first-place winner from each state will advance to the national competition to vie for their chance to win awards totaling $31,500.

Participants may submit two-dimensional pieces including watercolor, pencil, pastels, charcoals, tempera, crayon, acrylics, ink, oils, markers or other media on either canvas or paper. The work cannot be framed and should be no smaller than 8x10 inches, but no larger than 18x24 inches, not including a mat.

Additionally, students may enter three-dimensional art, that may include paper, papier-mâché, pottery, clay, metal work, fabric or other kinds of medium. Art is required to be no larger than 18 inches in any direction and is not to exceed more than five pounds in weight. 

For a complete list of rules and regulations, please visit vfwauxiliary.org/scholarships/young-american-creative-patriotic-art-contest.

The deadline to apply is March 31 and signup sheets will be also available at Grafton High School, in the counselor’s office.

Locally, all contests will see a first, second and third-place finisher, who will all receive accolades. For more information on any of the contests, please contact Scholarship Chair Polly Forman at 304-265-1180.

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