The Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars premier scholarship program since 1947. 9th through 12th grade students compete for more than $2.1 million in college scholarships and awards by writing and recording a broadcast script on a patriotic theme.
The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000.
The trip to Washington, D.C. includes four fun-filled days of tours, visits to monuments, meeting with heads of state and often the President or Vice President of the United States. The National Judging is held in Washington, D.C. prior to the students' arrival and the winners are announced at a special reception in their honor. In June, each state winner is invited to the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Freedom and Leadership Youth Conference. The three-day conference allows participating students the opportunity to converse with experts on current issues of citizenship, tour the Philadelphia and Valley Forge historic sites and participate in seminars designed to develop leadership skills and understand the value of community service. The foundations of American democracy and the elements of the free enterprise system will also be explored through thought provoking lectures and workshops.
Who can enter?
The competition is open to students in grades 9-12, who are enrolled in a public, private, parochial high school or a home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or in an overseas U.S. military/civilian dependent school. Foreign exchange students, students age 20 or over and previous Voice of Democracy first place state winners are ineligible.
What do students need to enter?
Students should record their reading of the draft to an audio CD or flash drive. The recording can be no shorter than three minutes and no longer than five minutes (plus or minus five seconds).
The Voice of Democracy theme for 2018-19 asks high school students to reflect on "Why My Vote Matters.”