Youth Scholarships

The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $30,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you.

VOD winner

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 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. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, and download and complete the 2021-2022 Voice of Democracy entry form as all student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring local VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31.

 

The 2021-22 theme is: 
America: Where Do We Go From Here?


About the 2020-2021 winner ...

Erin Stoeckig, a high school junior from Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota, was named the 2020-2021 Voice of Democracy first place winner. Erin's speech on the theme, "Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?" won her a $30,000 college scholarship. Erin was sponsored by VFW Post 1215 and its Auxiliary in Rochester, Minnesota. Watch as Erin delivered her speech during the VFW's first-ever virtual Parade of Winners award ceremony, live on Facebook.

Want to catch up on everything that happened this year? You can watch the Parade of Winners ceremony which was streamed live on Facebook, see this year's complete list of winners, or listen to the winning essay from your state. 

Patriots Pen winner

Patriot's Pen

Each year more than 165,400 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000! 

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements, and download and complete the 2021-2022 Patriot's Pen entry form as all student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring local VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31.

 

The 2021-22 theme is: 
How Can I Be a Good American?


About the 2020-2021 winner ...

Wyatt Perkins, a sixth grade home school student from Mayville, North Dakota, was named the 2020-2021 Patriot's Pen first place winner. His essay on the theme, "What is Patriotism to Me?" won him a $5,000 award. Wyatt was sponsored by VFW Post 4221 in Portland, North Dakota.

Watch as Wyatt delivered his winning essay, during the VFW's first-ever virtual Parade of Winners streamed live on Facebook, or see the complete list of 2021 national winners.

Find A Post Near You
The true character of America is measured by her communities
or

Attention Teachers! 

NASSP Logo

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed the VFW's Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen programs on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2020-21. We thank all of America's teachers and youth leaders for the time, effort and commitment they invest in our young people each year. We have a number of ways in which to assist you in helping to ensure your students get a head start on their future.


Get Acquainted with VFW's Programs


National Scholarship Programs Brochure

 

 

 

Donate full page

t

o

p