VFW Voice of Democracy Program

The VFW Voice of Democracy (VOD) Program is an audio-essay contest whose theme changes each year and is open to all students in the 9th through 12th grades who have not participated and won first place at the Department level in any previous year.  There is scholarship money to be won at the Post, District and Department level as we as the National level. All students chosen as first place in their Departments (State Level) are brought to Washington DC to meet their counterparts and to participate in a week of supervised educational and sightseeing programs during the final week of competition. While the first prize at the National level is $30,000 the VFW gave out over $3 Million in scholarship money last year alone!  The 2009-2010 theme will be "Does America still have hero's?"

Who Can enter? /images/uploads/VOD_Emblem_thumb.jpg

The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or in an overseas U.S. military/civilian dependent school. Foreign exchanges students, students age 20 and over and previous Voice of Democracy first place state winners are ineligible.

What do I need to enter?

Record your originial 3-5 minute (+ or - 5 seconds) essay on a standard casset tape or CD on this this year's theme. Label your cassette or CD and neatly typed essay with your name and complete the attached entry form.  (Make sure you and your parent or guardian sign it.) Provide these three items to your school/group competion or to you local VFW Post (Franklin-Sloan Post 7383) for judging. All recordings must be in your own voice (hearing or speech impaired students should contact the Voice of Democracy National Office (816) 968-1117 for special instructions), without music, special effects or background sounds. Songs and poetry are not acceptable. You may not provide anything in the essay or recording that will identify you in any way. You may enter only one Voice of Democracy competion per year.

Where do I submit my entry?

To advance to the next level, all entries must be judged at the VFW Post level. The only exception is where schools/classes/youth groups have large numbers of students and wish to conduct their own competition, submitting one winner for each 15 students to the local VFW Post competition.  Individual students may submit their entry directly to the local VFW Post provided they have not competed at a school/class competition. VFW Post winners compete at the VFW District level. District winners compete at the VFW Department (state) level. Department winners receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete at the VFW National level. All winners must being at the Post level. To identify a participating VFW Post in your area, call the Voice of Democracy National Office at (816) 968-1117 or e-mail us at or visit our Web site at

The Franklin-Sloan Post 7383 will gladly accept entries from students  in the greater Raleigh area.

What is the deadline for my entry?

All entries competing at the Post level must be in the hands of that VFW Post by midnight,  Oct 31, 2009.  It is the responsibility of the student to meet this deadline by submitting their entry to the proper location. (Check your envelope to enclude all required items including signatures prior to mailing or delivering to the Post)

What are the Judging Criteria? 

Originality is worth 30 points: Treatment of the theme should show imagination and human interest.

Content is worth 35 points:  Clearly express your ideas in an organized manner. Fully develop your theme and use transisitions to move smoothly from one idea to another.

Delivery is worth 35 points:  Speak in a clear and crediable manner.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has again approved this contest for its National Advisory List of Contests and Activities.