The VFW is gearing up to host its annual essay writing contests for local students, with high school participants eligible to win up to a $30,000 scholarship and middle school students competing for a $5,000 prize.

The Voice of Democracy scholarship is for those in high school and the Patriot’s Pen essay competition is for those in middle school.

Voice of Democracy

Established in 1947, the VFW’s Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay.

Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.

The national first place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school.

Winners at other levels of the national scholarships competition range from $1,000 to $16,000.

The first place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

The winner and runner ups in the Fountain Hills VFW Post 7507 competition receive recognition and cash awards along with proceeding to District competition and possibly to the state competition and beyond.

To apply, read the rules and eligibility requirements, then download and complete the 2019-20 entry form at vfw.org/VOD or obtain one from any member of VFW Post 7507.

All student entries must be submitted to a VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31. The 2019-20 theme is, “What makes America great?”

Patriot's Pen

Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest.

The national first place winner receives $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.

Additonal cash prizes are award by VFW Post 7507 and at the District and state 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 the patriotic theme of “what makes America great?”

To apply, read the rules and eligibility requirements, then download and complete the 2019-20 entry form at vfw.org/VOD or obtain one from any member of VFW Post 7507. Like those for the Voice of Democracy, all student entries must be submitted to VFW Post 7507 bymidnight, Oct. 31.

For further information, contact Boe James, VFW Post 7507’s adjutant, at vfw7507@yahoo.com or call the Post’s commander, Steve Gonnella, at 480-836-5520; or contact the school’s counselor.