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Local high school student could win trip to Washington, DC, and $30,000 scholarship

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[September 12, 2012]  Commanders of Veterans of Foreign Wars posts across Illinois have announced the kickoff of the 66th year of the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary Voice of Democracy Scholarship competition. Local high school students have the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C.

The Voice of Democracy Scholarship contest is an annual nationwide audio essay competition designed to give ninth- to 12th-grade high school students, ages 15-19, an opportunity to voice their opinion on their responsibility to our country. Home-schooled students are also invited to participate.

Students must write and record a three- to five-minute essay on this theme for 2012-2013: "Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?" The recording is to be on an audio cassette tape or audio CD. Students competing enter their recording, typed essay and entry form at their local VFW post. The deadline is Nov. 1.

Post winners advance to district judging, and then the first-place district winners advance to the state competition in Springfield. All state winners receive a four-day trip to Washington, D.C.

A total of $152,000 is awarded to national finalists. First place is a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipientís American university, college or vocational-technical school.

Annually the VFW provides more than $2.3 million in scholarships. Around 50,000 students participate in the competition each year.

The Voice of Democracy contest was started by the National Association of Broadcasters in the late 1940s, and the VFW became involved in the late 1950s. The VFW took over primary sponsorship in 1961, when the broadcasters could no longer sponsor the program nationally. Then in 1964, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary joined in sponsorship of the program.

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Because of the active program promotion and participation, the national scholarship funds have steadily increased from four national winners in 1962, with total scholarships of $3,750, to the current level of 63 national scholarships totaling $152,000.

For more information about the Voice of Democracy competition, contact the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in your area. If you are unsure of the post in your area, contact Illinois VFW headquarters in Springfield at 217-529-6688.

For more information, visit

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