KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — The Veterans of Foreign Wars is calling for students to participate in two annual essay competitions.

Winners could earn a trip to Washington and thousands of dollars in scholarships or U.S. savings bonds, said Dwayne P. Ash, commander for VFW Post 11435 on Okinawa.

The Patriot’s Pen Essay Competition is for sixth- to eighth-grade students and calls for a 300- to 400-word written essay. The Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition, for students in grades 9-12, requires a written and recorded three- to five-minute audio essay.

The Pen Essay theme is “Citizenship in America,” and the Voice of Democracy theme is “Freedom’s Challenge.”

“We have asked the principals to select the best three essays from each school to send on to us,” said Dennis E. Provencher, quartermaster of Post 9723, also on Okinawa.

The VFW will select the best in each category and forward them to the district level of competition.

Provencher advised students to adhere to competition rules and stay within the word and time limits. Last year the post disqualified 23 of 27 entries for the Voice of Democracy competition for failure to follow instructions, he said.

The local VFW must receive entries by Nov. 1.

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