Every year, students in grades 9 through 12 across America compete in the audio-essay competition Voice of Democracy hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW started the program in 1947 to provide students the opportunity to express their ideas and opinions on democratic and patriotic topics. The participants write an essay on the topic chosen by the VFW and record their recitations. The participants’ written and audio copies are sent to their local VFW along with the entry form. Essays must be three to five minutes in length. The national winner of the competition is awarded $30,000 to the beneficiary’s university or college of choice. The topic this year was “How are veterans important to the country's past, present, and future?”After reading several entries, Brownstown’s VFW chapter selected BHS Junior Zeke Philpot as the local winner. Mr. Philpot was then invited to a Voice of Democracy banquet at Cahokia Memorial Post 5691 in Collinsville, Illinois on January 12th to represent Brownstown. Only the top 14 best entries of the region were invited. At the banquet each town had a reserved table for winners and their families. The winners approached the stage individually to receive recognition for their achievements in writing. Zeke’s essay received 6th out of 216 entries. During the 2015 spring awards ceremony at BHS, The local VFW will award Zeke a considerable sum of money for the effort he gave in the creation of his essay, and Zeke will also recite his essay at the Brownstown Community Park for a Veterans Day ceremony.
By William Koonce
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