Scholarships available through VFW Opportunities for middle, high schoolers, teachers

Rick Higgins VFW State Commander

Rick Higgins, of Creswell, was recently elected the The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) state commander for the department of Oregon, so he’s got a finger on the pulse of all the VFW happenings. He relayed to The Chronicle that the VFW, through their dedication of promoting patriotism and investing in future generations, offers several youth scholarships.
These opportunities are for democracy-loving students who can write on the theme of ”Why My Vote Matters.”
The entry deadline for these programs is Wednesday, Oct. 31. Students can enter directly by submitting the required entry form, along with their essay to the Creswell VFW Post, 111 S. 10th St.
Entry forms and instructions can be downloaded from the VFW website at
The Voice of Democracy – high schoolers
The Voice of Democracy competition is for 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders. Participants are to write an essay on the annual theme, ”Why My Vote Matters.
The competition provides high school students – from freshmen to seniors – the chance to write and record an essay on a patriotic theme, competing for more than $2.1 million in college scholarships and incentives.
Teachers are encouraged to use the competition as an essay contest, and encourage the students with the best essays to compete.
The first place national winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college, vocational or technical school.
The first-place winner from each state wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000, an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. and can also compete for $155,500 in scholarships.
Notable people who participated in Voice of Democracy include Journalist Charles Kuralt, Miss America Anita Bryant and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest – middle schoolers
The Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest is for 6th, 7th and 8th graders who are to write a 300 to 400 word essay on the theme, ”Why My Vote Matters.
The essay is an opportunity for students to express their opinion on a patriotic theme and improve their writing skills while they compete for worthwhile awards and prizes, according to the VFW site.
Teachers are encouraged use the competition as a patriotic assignment, and encourage the students with the best essays to compete.
Awards can be given at the local, district and state levels. The state winners compete for $54,500 in awards at the national level. The first-place national winner receives a $5,000 award and an all expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., where they tour the city.

Teacher of the Year Program – teachers
Three teachers are recognized each year for ”Outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students,” according to the VFW site.
With this program, the VFW recognizes the nation’s top elementary, junior high and high school teachers. These teachers must teach at least half of the school day in a classroom environment and promote America’s history, traditions and citizenship education effectively.
The Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award recipients are selected from entries submitted to local VFW Posts in every state and overseas.
Awards include a national $1,000 Past National CIC John Smart award for the top kindergarten through 12th grade teachers for professional development expenses.
Awards include $1,000 for each winning teacher’s school, plaques for both the winning teacher and school, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the VFW National Convention.
For more information, visit or contact Higgins at 541-359-7781 or email [email protected].



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