RADFORD – Radford High School students Abby Barnes, Emma McMurray and Marisa Myers have been named the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 776 winners of the VFW’s national essay contest.
The VFW Voice of Democracy audio essay program has been awarding scholarship funds to teens in the U.S.for more than 70 years. Participants write an essay based on a yearly theme and then record themselves reading the essay. Those recordings are judged by members of the local VFW post. A win at the post level advances the student to district competition, leading to possible state and, finally, national competition, and a chance to win a sizable scholarship. Barnes was named the Post 776 first place winner.
“Abby’s essay will advance to the district level where she will be in the running for a variety of scholarships,” said VFW Post 776 Commander Gary Harris.
McMurray won first runner up and Myers won second runner up. The 2020-21 theme was: Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?
Established in 1947, the Voice of Democracy program “provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay,” according to the VFW. “Each year, nearly 64,500 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program”
And the grand prize is significant, with the national first place winner receiving a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first place winner from each state wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000.