Scholar’s App

VFW - Voice of Democracy - South Dakota - District 7 - Post 6895

Recruiting for more applications!

Awards up to


Deadline: October 31, 2023

Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, nearly 27,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives.

Students compete by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme.

This year’s theme is "What Are the Greatest Attributes of Our Democracy?"

Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, state and national level. Department (State) winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington DC, to tour the city, be honored by the VFW and its Auxiliary and receive their portion of $171,000 in national awards, the top award scholarship being $35,000.

All entries are submitted at the Post level.

The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12 by the Oct. 31 deadline who are enrolled in a public private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools.

Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence (the application for which has not been denied) and intend to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law.

Foreign exchange students, students age 20 or over, previous Voice of Democracy first place state winners, GED or Adult Education Students are ineligible.

Essay & Video Instructions

  • Record your original 3-5 minute (+ or – 5 seconds max.) audio essay.
  • You will submit the recording and typed essay via an upload to your Scholar's App application.
  • You must be the sole author of your essay. The recording must be in your own voice and in English.
  • Use of ChatGPT or other AI tools is not allowed.

Hearing/speech impaired students should email the Voice of Democracy National Office at for special instructions.

  • No music, singing, poetry or sound effects are allowed.
  • The body of the essay must not identify you in any way, (including, but not limited to your name, school, city, state, race, or national origin).

Judging Criteria
  • Originality is worth 30 points: Treatment of the theme should show imagination and human interest.
  • Content is worth 35 points: Clearly express your ideas in an organized manner. Fully develop your theme and use transitions to move smoothly from one idea to another.
  • Delivery is worth 35 points: Speak in a clear and credible manner.