VFW offers scholarship opportunities for artists, writers


Courtesy Photo

The charcoal drawing “Coming Home” by junior Silver Abbott from Elberta, Alabama represents the everyday motivation for American soldiers. The name Hope represents the hope that we hold onto, that our families will return home to us. Abbot's work won last year's $15,000 scholarship for 1st place.

In order to encourage patriotism in up-and-coming artists and writers, the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization established three scholarship competitions: the Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest, the Voice of Democracy audio-essay program and the Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest.

The Patriotic Art Contest is open to grades 9-12, and more than 4,000 high school students from across the country participate each year.

The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $31,000.

The entry deadline to the local VFW Auxiliary is March 31.

For submission requirements and additional deadlines for the Patriotic Art Contest, click here.

Scholarship opportunities for writers include the Voice of Democracy (VOD) for grades 9-12, and the Patriot’s Pen for grades 6-8.

More than 40,000 high school students and 132,000 middle school students competed in last year’s competitions.

Every year offers a new theme for the two programs, this year’s being “What makes America great?”

The national first-place winner for the VOD receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school.

The winner will also receive an all-expense-paid trip to the annual National VFW and Auxiliaries Convention to give their speech. Last year’s convention was held at Washington, D.C.

The first-place winner from each state will win a scholarship from a range of $1,000-$16,000 and will attend the all-expense-paid trip to the convention alongside the national winner.

The national first-place winner for the Patriot’s Pen competition will receive a $5,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to the convention to read their essay.

The submission deadline for both writing contests is October 31.

For rules and requirements of the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay programs, click here.

Florence Wear, the former president of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, greatly encourages students to take advantage of these opportunities.

“The scholarships are a great incentive in themselves,” Wear said. “It also gives students an outlet to further develop their writing, public speaking and artistic skills.”