Seeking scholarship money? West Seattle VFW announces essay contests

VFW announces $30,000 scholarship competition

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2713, in West Seattle, announces the kick-off of this year’s VFW’s Voice of Democracy Scholarship competition. Students in grades 9-12 have the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C.

Students must write and record a three-to-five minute essay on the selected theme using an audio CD or flash drive and present their recording, typed essay and completed entry form to their local VFW Post by Oct. 31, 2018. The 2018-19 theme is: “Why My Vote Matters”. Students begin by competing at the local Post level, Post winners compete at the District level with the winner advancing to the state competition.

All state first-place winners receive a four day trip to Washington, D.C., and the chance to compete for their share of more than $150,000 in scholarships. The first-place winner receives a $30,000 college scholarship.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) started the Voice of Democracy Scholarship program in 1947. The VFW became a national sponsor in the late 1950s and assumed sole responsibility for the program in 1961. The competition was created to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regard to democratic ideas and principles. Around 40,000 students participate in the competition each year and VFW awards more than $2.1 million in educational scholarships every year. Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen web site: Also, see past winners.

Patriot’s Pen
Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen essay contest. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level.
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. The 2018-19 theme is: “Why I Honor the American Flag”.
Both programs are approved by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Youth Essay
This currently is a VFW Washington Department (or state level) competition for students in Grades 3-5. The theme is: “How the American Flag makes me feel” and must be 250 words or less. Youth essay web site:

Students from the following schools participated last year: Our Lady of Guadalupe School, Holy Family School, Madison Middle School, Holy Rosary School, and Arbor Heights.

VFW Post 2713 will award nearly $1,500 in prizes for 2018/2019:

Voice of Democracy – Patriots Pen – Youth Essay

Grades 9-12
1st – $225
2nd – $175
3rd – $125

Grades 6-8
1st – $175
2nd – $125
3rd – $100

Grades 3-5
1st – $125
2nd – $75
3rd – $50

Each grade winner not in top 3 will receive $50, $40, and $30 respectively.
Since this program is completely voluntary, a student (including home schooled) does not have to go through their school to participate.
Interested students and teachers should contact Bill Dwyer,, telephone (206) 938- 5719 or Ben Skwiercz,, telephone (206) 420-7865.

All entries must be in to VFW Post 2713 by Oct. 31, 2018 at 3601 S.W. Alaska Street, Seattle, WA 98126.

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