Jerry Bouck

2023-2024 Theme

"What are the greatest attributes of our Democracy?”

Student Entry Deadline: October 31, 2023


Patriotic Audio Essay Competition Grand Prize: $35,000 Award


VOD Entry Form

VOD Score Sheet


At the turn of the 20th century, the founders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars created an organization that would honor and serve veterans and perpetuate the values and ideals for which those veterans had served.  Although men of vision, it is doubtful they could imagine the millions of Americans impacted today by the VFW’s youth, scholarship and recognition programs. Every year, tens of thousands of students nationwide participate in the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition and the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest, garnering more than $3.2 million in scholarships, awards, and incentives.

Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) started the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition in 1946. The Veterans of Foreign Wars became a national sponsor in the late 1950s and assumed sole responsibility for the program in 1961. Many notables have participated in the Voice of Democracy including journalist Charles Kuralt, Miss America Anita Bryant and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. The Voice of Democracy competition provides high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to write and record an audio essay on a patriotic theme, competing for more than $2 million in college scholarships and incentives. Each first place Department (state) winner is brought to Washington, D.C. in March to enjoy our nation’s capital. 

VFW national Voice of Democracy scholarships have been raised $5k each, bringing the total national scholarship amount to $171,000. 

1st Place $35,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship

2nd Place $21,000 Charles Kuralt Memorial Scholarship

3rd Place $15,000 VFW Scholarship

Deadlines 2023-24

The deadlines for both Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen are as follows:

  1. Midnight, October 31Entries to the Post*
  2. November 15, Entries received at your District
  3. December 15, Entries received at Department
  4. December 15, District participation reports to Department Chairmen**
  5. January 15, Department winners to National*
  6. January 31, Department reports to National* 

Post entries are required to include: Typed essay, an audio file of the recorded essay (3-5 minutes, +/- 5 seconds), and a student entry form completed legibly.  Please refer to the student Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen entry forms to review the complete rules and guidelines.