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Scholarship prizes available in VFW essay contests

The Veterans of Foreign Wars is now accepting submissions for its annual Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship essay contests.

The Voice of Democracy winner will be awarded the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship, while the top entry in the Patriot’s Pen contest will be given $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

These two competitive scholarships are offered by the VFW as a way for the veterans organization to promote patriotism among the nation’s youth. Each year, dozens of students walk away with scholarships ranging from $500 to $30,000. Last year, VFW posts across the globe gave away $3 million worth of scholarship funds — money they consider well-spent.

“I think it’s important to instill the value of patriotism in this generation and the next and to continue teaching the heritage of our nation,” said Kevin Jones, the VFW programs director. “This is a way to continue to honor those who served.”

The Voice of Democracy competition is aimed at students in the ninth through 12th grades and entries must be submitted in both written and spoken-word essay form. The spoken-word essay must be recorded to a CD and submitted with the text of the speech. This year, the essay’s theme is “Why veterans are important to our nation’s history and future” and the winner will be awarded the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship.

Students in grades six through eight who want to enter the Patriot’s Pen competition must submit an essay of 300 to 400 words in which they explain why they appreciate America’s veterans.

Both competitions are open to Defense Department schools students and approved home-schooled students. Amethyst Rorie, then a sophomore at Ramstein High School, Germany, and Kenneth Svoboda, then a senior at Zama High School at Camp Zama, Japan, each won $1,000 in last year’s competition. Several middle school students sponsored by VFW posts in Europe and the Pacific also received some scholarship money from the Patriot’s Pen competition.

This year, all entries must be submitted to a local VFW post no later than Nov. 1, 2014. More information regarding the scholarships can be found on the VFW web site: http://www.vfw.org/Community/Programs/

darnell.michael@stripes.com

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