The Voice of Democracy Scholarship hosted by the VFW has been helping students in grades 9 through 12 since 1946. This awards’ guidelines are based on students writing and recording a three to five minute speech based on the annual topic by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The 2013-2014 essay topic was "Why are you optimistic about our nation’s future?" In Illinois there are VFW posts spread throughout the state, and in each of these posts one student won a $250 savings bond. Then winners are invited to compete against other post's victors at a district level. Brownstown’s Michaela Walk traveled to Collinsville, Illinois to compete at her district level. Only one winner was chosen among the 19 different districts across the state. Winners gave a speech to show their gratitude, and the speech given at Collinsville District 12 was from Brownstown's very own Michaela Walk.
As one of the eighteen finalists, Michaela received a reward for a $400 savings bond and a $50 check for spending money as she moves onto the next level of the competition in Springfield. Because every winner has worked so hard in the competition the VFW rewards them with a pizza party the night of their arrival and a free hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. All students there will get to go on a tour of Springfield via trolley ride and will be chaperoned by the VFW members. Winners in Springfield are placed 1st through 11th, the 1st place prize being $3,000. Anyone who doesn't place is still rewarded for their efforts and are given $300 towards college. The 1st place winner is then given a paid trip to Washington D.C. and there they will have the opportunity to meet the President of the United States and compete at a national level against all other 49 state winners. Good luck Michaela!
By Chloe Lansford
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