Three Lennox School District students were recognized for their writing ability in a patriotic essay contest by winning high-ranking awards.
Lennox student Kayleigh Thill was awarded third place for her written work in the Voice of Democracy competition for the District while Ethan Rops received second place and Cailey Highum placed third place in the Patriots Pen competition. The awards ceremony was held in Sioux Falls on Sunday, January 20.
According to the Veteran’s of Foreign War’s website, the Voice of Democracy is an audio-essay program that provides the opportunity for high school students to record themselves reading a democratic/patriotic themed essay. According to the VFW, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a chance at $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.
Each year there is a theme that the students have to adhere to when they’re crafting their essays. The theme for this competition was, ‘My Vote Matters.’
There’s a lot at stake in the Voice of Democracy contest. The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship. Other scholarships available to winners range from $1,00-$16,000. The first place winner from each state also wins a minimum scholarship of $1000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC.
The Patriot’s Pen competition that Rops and Highum placed in is for students grades 6 - 8.
The VFW states that the contest encourages students to examine America’s history and their own experiences in modern American society in a 300 - 600 word essay while focusing on a chosen theme. This year’s theme was ‘Why I Honor the American Flag.’
According to the VFW, more than 132,000 students enter the contest. The national first-place winner wins $5000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. as well. The first place state winners compete for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level.