RICHMOND – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is accepting entries at all posts for its 2019-20 Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen youth scholarship competitions.

Essay contest deadline for middle- and high-school students and an award for top teachers is Thursday, Oct. 31.

National winners will be announced at the VFW’s 2020 Legislative Conference in March in Washington, D.C., where the top students from across the globe will be recognized.

“When the essays are turned in by Oct. 31 each year, I can’t wait to hear what our youth have shared about these important topics,” VFW Post 4398 youth chairwoman Trish Fields said. “This year’s theme for both competitions, What Makes America Great, will definitely make for some tough competition.”

Dedicated to encouraging a better understanding and appreciation of America, the VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions help foster patriotism among today’s youth, a VFW press release stated.

The programs also foster friendly competition as well as rewards success in the form of some $3 million in scholarship prizes being distributed.

The Patriot’s Pen written essay contest is open to all sixth- through eighth-graders, including homeschooled students, with the national winner receiving a $5,000 cash prize.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition is open to all ninth- through 12th-graders, including those who are home-schooled, with the national winner receiving a $30,000 scholarship.

Nearly 40,000 high school students compete in the annual competition.

Entries are also sought for National Citizenship Education Teacher Award, which is awarded to teachers who teach citizenship education topics and promote America's history, traditions and institutions.

Nomination deadline for teacher nominations is also Thursday, Oct. 31.

Fields said Post 4398 will recognize one teacher in kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth through eighth grade, and grades nine through 12.

National winners, and their school, receive $1,000 and plaques.

Teachers may be nominated by fellow teachers, supervisors or other unrelated individuals.

Entry forms and nomination forms are available from www.vfw.org/community/programs and must be turned into the school. Fields will pick up entries from school contacts.

For information email Fields at trish.fields.79@gmail.com.

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