Voice of Democracy
2019 - 2020
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 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. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, then download and complete the 2019-20 entry form. All student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring local VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31.
The 2019-2020 theme is:
What Makes America Great
Entries begin at your Post. Once the student creates their essay and completes burning the audio version to a CD/flash drive, they can submit their typed version, CD/flash drive and the Voice of Democracy entry form to your VFW Post / VFW Auxiliary no later than October 1, 2017.
Please send application to your VFW Post / VFW Auxiliary for submissions.
Texas Winner at National for 2019-2020
Tenth place winner Jessica Schlaudt, from Lufkin, TX, represented the VFW Department of Texas, and was awarded the $3,000 Joseph and Irene Hansen Memorial Scholarship (MD). Listen to her winning essay!
National Winner for 2019-2020
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. Watch as Shruthi delivered her winning speech during the Parade of Winners ceremony at the 2020 VFW Legislative Conference. Listen to her winning essay!