Voice of Democracy (VOD)
Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy (VOD) 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 25,000 ninth through 12th grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $1.3 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.
The national first place winner receives a $35,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$21,000, and the first place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins at least a scholarship of $1,000. Before submitting your essay, read the rules and eligibility requirements, and find your sponsoring local VFW Post as applications must be turned in by midnight, Oct. 31. Download and complete the 2023-2024 Voice of Democracy entry form here.
The 2023-24 theme is:
"What Are the Greatest Attributes of Our Democracy?"
About the 2022-2023 winner ...
Scotland Stewart, a sophomore at Franklin County High School in Winchester, Tennessee,, was named the 2022-2023 Voice of Democracy first place winner. Scotland’s speech on the theme, "Why is the Veteran Important?" won him a $35,000 college scholarship. Scotland was sponsored by VFW Post 1893 in Estill Springs, Tennessee. Watch as Scotland delivered his speech during the VFW's Parade of Winners award ceremony or read it here.
Want to catch up on everything that happened this year? You can watch the full Parade of Winners ceremony which was streamed live on Facebook, or see this year's complete list of winners.