Voice of Democracy
Adam Densmore, a freshman at Densmore Homeschool, was named the 2014-15 Voice of Democracy 1st-place winner.
Each year, nearly 38,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition.
The VFW established the Voice of Democracy program (VOD) in 1947 to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideas and principles.
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, and the first-place winner from each (state) VFW Department wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Scout Of The Year
2015 Scout of the Year Winners:
1ST PLACE Meredith S. Burke is the 2014-15 VFW Scout of the Year. She was awarded a $5,000 scholarship. Meredith was sponsored by the VFW Department of Texas and VFW Post 3530.
2ND PLACE Haley Wohlever was named the second-place winner and received a $3,000 scholarship. She was sponsored by the VFW Department of Rhode Island and VFW Post 5390.
3RD PLACE Joseph W. Blaisse was named the third-place winner and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. He was sponsored by the VFW Department of Pennsylvania and VFW Post 7390.
Some of the VFW's earliest ties to the community involve youth groups and perhaps none are stronger or more lasting than the relationship between the VFW and America's scouting organizations. In fact, VFW's partnership with the Boy Scouts of America dates back to 1915 when VFW Post 2100 helped to establish Troop 1 in Everett, Washington.
Through the VFW's Scout of the Year program, members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who display standout citizenship, patriotism and love of country have the opportunity to be rewarded with college scholarships of up to $5,000.
WHO CAN ENTER:
Scouts who are registered, active members of a Boy or Girl Scout Troop, Venturing Crew, or a Sea Scout Ship who have received the Eagle Scout Award, Girl Scout Gold Award, Venture Summit Award or Sea Scout Quartermaster Award.
Scouts must be 15 years of age and have demonstrated practical citizenship in school, scouting and the community.
Scouts must be enrolled in high school at the time of selection.
Note: All applicants still in high school who reach their 18th birthday during the nomination year remain eligible if otherwise qualified.
HOW TO ENTER:
Scouts should submit the completed VFW Scouting Scholarship form, resume of high school activities, scouting record, community service record and letters of recommendation to a local VFW Post no later than March 1. Locate your local Post here.
Note: A Scout can enter through ONE VFW Post only.
HOW IT WORKS:
Local VFW Posts submit all candidates with full entry criteria to their respective VFW Department (state) by April 1. From there, the Department selects a winner and forwards the entry to the VFW National Headquarters by May 1 for national-level judging.
Ethan Schroeder, a 7th-grade student, was named the 2014-15 Patriot's Pen 1st-place winner.
Each year more than 125,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $50,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.
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.
Teacher Of The Year
The 2015 Teacher of the Year winners are:
Ann Parker Komara, a fifth-grade teacher at Ottobine Elementary School in Dayton, Va., has been named the 2015 winner at the elementary school level.
At the middle school level, Melinda Hamilton, a seventh grade social studies teacher at Rover Bend Middle School in Claremont, N.C., was named the 2015 winner.
Craig Blackman, a high school history teacher at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Va., was named the 2015 high school winner.
Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn't be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.
The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics—for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment—can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher
Award. Winners receive:
A $1,000 award for professional development expenses.
A $1,000 award for his/her school.
Two award plaques: one for the teacher, the other for his/her school.
An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award.
WHO SHOULD BE NOMINATED:
Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism are prime candidates for the award.
If you know a teacher who plans field trips to city hall, organizes community volunteer projects or invites local veterans to speak in class, anything to help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs, this award is for them
HOW TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION:
Step 1: In 350 words or less, describe why you feel your nominee is deserving of the award. Be sure to describe the teacher's innovative teaching and resource development methods, as well as his or her dedication to education.
Step 2: Complete the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award nomination form.
Step 3: Submit the nomination form along with your explanation to your local VFW Post by February 15.
Note: Nominations can be submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors or other interested individuals. Nominations submitted by relatives or self are not eligible.
HOW THE CONTEST WORKS:
Based on the nominees submitted, VFW's local chapters - called Posts - will recognize one outstanding teacher in grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Posts then submit their winning names to their District-level judging.
From there, the selected winners are forwarded to the Department-level (state-level). Once they are judged on a state level, the winners are passed along to VFW National Headquarters for consideration in the national awards contest.
ACCESS COMPLETE RULES AND INFORMATION  (pdf)