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 The VFW has announced the topics for the 2022-2023 Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen youth essay competitions.  

Please be advised the top three 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


Voice of Democracy -- "Why is the Veteran Important?”

Voice of Democracy Brochure - Help spread the word about our VOD Competition
National Scholarship Award List - View a complete listing of National scholarships awarded 

The 2022-23 theme is: 
"My Pledge to Our Veterans.”

2022-2023 Official Entry Form

For more information

Each year, nearly 68,800 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000! 

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 a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. Before submitting your essay, read the rules and eligibility requirements, and find your sponsoring VFW Post 2197 as applications must be turned in by midnight, Oct. 31Download and complete the 2022-2023 entry form here

About the past 2021-2022 winner …

Syed Ali, an eighth grade student from Lafayette, Louisiana, was named the 2021-2022 Patriot’s Pen first place winner. His essay on the theme, "How Can I Be a Good American?” won him a $5,000 award. Syed was sponsored by New Iberia, Louisiana, VFW Post 1982.

Watch as Syed delivered his winning essay, during the VFW’s virtual Parade of Winners streamed live on Facebook, or see the complete list of 2022 national winners.