Commander Everett Beach, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Post 7447 Rehoboth Beach, announced the kick-off of this year’s VFW’s Voice of Democracy Scholarship competition.

Local high school students have the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C.

Students must write and record a three-to-five minute essay on the selected theme using an audio CD or flash drive and present their recording, typed essay and completed entry form to their local VFW Post by Oct. 31.

The 2019-20 theme selected is “What Makes America Great.” Students begin by competing at the local post level, then post winners compete at the district level with the winner advancing to the state competition.

All state first-place winners receive a four day trip to Washington, D.C., and the chance to compete for their share of more than $150,000 in scholarships. The first-place winner receives a $30,000 college scholarship.

The National Association of Broadcasters started the Voice of Democracy Scholarship program in 1947. The VFW became a national sponsor in the late 1950s and assumed sole responsibility for the program in 1961. The competition was created to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideas and principles.

Around 40,000 students participate in the competition each year and VFW awards more than $2.1 million in educational scholarships every year.

Interested students and teachers should contact Voice of Democracy Committee Member Stephanie McGinnis at rehobothvfw@aol.com for applications or more information.

For more, visit vfw.org/vod.