What is the Voice of Democracy Program?
Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year,
nearly 80,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by
writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is, “Why Is The Veteran Important?”
Why Should I Enter?
Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, state and national level. Department (State) winners receive an
all-expense-paid trip to Washington DC, to tour the city, be honored by the VFW and its Auxiliary and receive their portion of
$156,000 in national awards, the top scholarship being $30,000.
Who can enter?
The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12 by the Oct. 31 deadline who are enrolled in a public private or parochial
high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or dependents of U.S. military or
civilian personnel in overseas schools. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents
or have applied for permanent residence (the application for which has not been denied) and intends to become a U.S. citizen
at the earliest opportunity allowed by law. Foreign exchange students, students age 20 or over, previous Voice of Democracy
first place state winners, GED or Adult Education Students are ineligible.
What do I need to enter?
Record your original 3-5 minute (+ or – 5 second max.) audio essay on a flash drive, or other electronic device. You will submit
the recording, typed essay and this completed entry form. Provide these items to your school/group competition or VFW
Post for judging. In addition you can submit your emailed entry form, essay, and audio file to the VFW Post upon approval.
You must be the sole author of your essay. The recording must be in your own voice and in English. Hearing/speech impaired
students should email the Voice of Democracy National Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for special instructions. No music,
singing, poetry or sound effects are allowed. The body of the essay must not identify you in any way, (including, but not
limited to your name, school, city, state, race, or national origin) although the recording & typed essay should be labeled
with your name, to show ownership.
Where Do I Submit My Entry?
All entries begin at the VFW Post level. The only exception is where schools/classes/youth groups have large numbers of
students and wish to conduct their own competition, submitting one winner for each 15 students to the VFW Post. Individual
students may submit their entry directly to the Post. Entries sent to VFW National will be returned. One winner for every 15 entries
from each Post advances to District and one District winner advances to the state (Department) competition. If you need help
finding a participating VFW Post, follow these instructions:
First, visit this website vfw.org/FindaPost to “Find A VFW Post.” If you do not have success in finding a Post, or if you have trouble
getting in touch with them, you can contact your VFW Department (state) office to see if they can offer any information
or assistance. You can visit this link https://www.vfw.org/ContactUs/ and look for “Find a State Contact” to get your VFW
state office’s phone number and email. If you still need assistance, please email us at VFW National Headquarters at
What Is the Deadline for My Entry?
All entries competing at the Post level must be in the hands of that VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31, 2022. It is the responsibility
of the student to meet this deadline by submitting their entry to the proper location by ensuring it is a participating Post.
What Are the Judging Criteria?
Originality is worth 30 points:
Treatment of the theme should show imagination and human interest.
Content is worth 35 points:
Clearly express your ideas in an organized manner. Fully develop your theme and use transitions to move smoothly from one idea
Delivery is worth 35 points:
Speak in a clear and credible manner.