“These scholarship programs not only allow the students to express their views on democracy and help them improve their writing skills or public speaking skills, it also allows them to compete for worthwhile awards and prizes,” said Paulette Murray, president of the VFW Post 4850 Ladies Auxiliary. “We’re encouraging students from all around our county to submit an entry for either scholarship program. The deadline to enter is Nov. 1.”
The National Patriot’s Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8 (on the Nov. 1 deadline), who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories.
“Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition,” Murray said. “They will also need to contact their local participating VFW Post or its Ladies Auxiliary and establish a contact person who is a member of that Post or its Ladies Auxiliary.”
The next step will be to draft an essay considering the 2013-2014 theme, “What Patriotism Means to Me.” The essay must be no less than 300 words, cannot exceed 400 words and should be submitted to the student’s local VFW Post, along with the completed Patriot’s Pen entry form no later than the Nov. 1 deadline.
The students will be judged on the following criteria:
• Their knowledge of the theme, which is worth 30 points. The student must show a thorough knowledge of the theme in his or her work and demonstrate they have researched the issue extensively.
• The theme development, which is worth 35 points. The student must answer all relevant facts about the theme such as the who, what, where, when and why. Relate the theme to their own experiences.
• The clarity of ideas, which is worth 35 points. The student must write their essay in an easy-to-understand format that will leave the reader with a clear understanding of their explanation of the theme.
The top national award for the Patriot’s Pen winner is $5,000 in scholarships.
Murray said students in grades 9-12 interested in entering the 2013-2014 Voice of Democracy Competition will need to record a speech while considering the theme “Why I’m Optimistic About our Nation’s Future.”
The speech can only be three to five minutes in length and must be recorded on either cassette or audio CD.
The speech should then be submitted to the student’s local VFW Post, along with the completed Voice of Democracy entry form no later than midnight on Nov. 1.
The students will be judged on originality, which is worth 30 points; content, which is worth 35 points; and delivery, which is worth 35 points. The top national award is worth $30,000 in scholarships.
“We also have information and entry forms at several area businesses, including the Frosty on U.S. Hwy. 78 East near the River Bridge and the Daily Mountain Eagle,” Murray said. “We’re hoping parents will see the information and encourage their children to participate in this wonderful opportunity.”
Murray said VFW Post 4850 is also accepting applications for the VFW Firefighter Award, VFW EMT Award, J. Edgar Hoover Gold Medal Award for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, and Scout of the Year (male and female).
For more information about the Patriot’s Pen, Voice of Democracy and other scholarship programs offered by the National VFW, or to obtain an application for the VFW awards, contact Paulette Murray at (205) 902-9195 or Chestine Garner at (205) 275-8476.