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VFW essay contests offer bonds, scholarships and trips to Washington, D.C.

ARLINGTON Local students will have chances to win a $10,000 savings bond, a $30,000 scholarship and a trip to Washington, D.C., by submitting essays to the Arlington Veterans of Foreign Wars.
VFW Post 1561 and its Ladies Auxiliary are soliciting entries to the Voice of Democracy scholarship competition and the Patriots Pen essay competition, both of which have deadlines of Nov. 1. While Patriots Pen is looking for written essays from sixth-through eighth-grade students, the Voice of Democracy is asking for audio essays from high school students.
Both contests send winners of the local VFW post level to compete in the district level, with the district level winners competing in the state contest, and the state winners heading off to the nationals. State winners of the Patriots Pen competition will vie for more than $75,000 in U.S. savings bonds and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. All state winners of the Voice of Democracy will receive a four-day tour of D.C., along with a minimum $1,000 national scholarship, while also being eligible to win the $30,000 first place award.
The Voice of Democracy requires students to write, then record, a three-to five-minute audio essay on this years theme of My role in honoring Americas veterans. For Patriots Pen, students must write a 300-to 500-word essay on this years theme of Why I am an American patriot.
William Morse, commander of VFW Post 1561, encouraged contestants to tap the veterans in their community as a resource for their essays.
Talk to a few vets, at least, Morse said. Research other materials, of course, but get them to share their feelings. When you do the audio essay, record your conversations with them, but practice them first. Public speaking is hard for a lot of people, so write down your remarks and read them in front of a mirror.
Morse offered his advice and assistance to contestants, but emphasized that they must conduct research on their own.
The kids who do these are incredible, Morse said. We want kids who want to do this, and I think they have fun with it. Im really looking forward to what theyll come up with.
Those interested in the Voice of Democracy may contact Morse at 425-232-8453, whole those who want to find out more about Patriots Pen may call Carol Williams at 360-629-4941.

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