Voice of Democracy audio essay competition offers scholarships – Lowell Sun
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TOWNSEND — The theme of this year’s Voice of Democracy audio essay competition is “America: Where Do We Go From Here?”
The competition is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and its auxiliaries and is open to all students in grades 9-12, under 20 years of age. The grand prize is a $30,000 scholarship.
Locally, Townsend VFW Post No. 6538 and Pepperell VFW Post No. 3291 and their auxiliaries are co-sponsoring the program. Students at North Middlesex Regional, Nashoba Valley Technical, Groton-Dunstable Regional, Ayer Shirley and Lunenburg High Schools will have a chance to compete.
For students in an approved home school program or who are attending local schools where the program is not being offered, there is still a chance to enter. They may submit their entry to the Townsend-Pepperell program through Townsend VFW Post Chairman Russell Jobe, Townsend VFW Auxiliary Chairman Betty Mae Tenney, Pepperell VFW Post Chairman Stu Young or Pepperell VFW Auxiliary Chairman Seth Durno.
The Voice of Democracy Program gives high school students the opportunity to compete for awards, prizes, and college scholarship monies by writing and recording an audio essay on a patriotic theme.
The winner of the Townsend-Pepperell contest will receive $150 in cash; $100 will be awarded to the second place winner, while the third place winner will receive $50. The local first place winning entry will be entered into the District No. 15 level of competition where cash prizes will be awarded to the winning contestants.
Additional top scoring local entries will be entered into the District 15 level of judging for each additional fifteen entries received at the local level. The District’s first place winning entry will be entered into the state competition where the top five winners will each receive a scholarship and a cash prize.
The winner of the Department of Massachusetts VFW and its Auxiliary Voice of Democracy competition will receive a $5,000 scholarship and $500. The winning Massachusetts entry will be entered into the National VFW Competition where a portion of the $154,000 in national scholarships monies will be awarded to each of the 53 Department competitors.
To enter the Voice of Democracy competition, each contestant must write their essay on “America: Where Do We Go From Here?” and then record it on a USB flash drive. No other sound besides the student reading their script is permitted. Entries must be at least three minutes but not exceed five minutes.
The student’s recording will be judged on originality (30 points), content (35 points), and delivery (35 points). Treatment of the theme should show imagination and human interest. The ideas should be clearly expressed in an organized manner. The contestant should speak in a clear and credible manner.
Participants cannot identify themselves, their school, city, state, race, or country of origin within their written essay or recording. However, they should label their recording and their neatly typed essay to alleviate any confusion over the ownership of the entry. Their name, address, and school should be listed on the 2021-2022 Official Voice of Democracy Entry Form which is attached to their typed essay. Additional rules are included in the student brochure.
All recorded entries, accompanied by a typed copy of the script and a completed official entry form, must be submitted to a Townsend or Pepperell Voice of Democracy Chairman by Sunday, Oct. 31.
Anyone seeking more contest information or to make arrangements to submit an entry should call Tenney at 978-597-5644 ext. 9.