Francesca "Frankie" Bill
2020-2021 National Scholarships Ambassador
Schools are back in session whether in-person, remote learning, or a hybrid model of both in-person and remote learning. Regardless of the education model, students and teachers have an opportunity to participate in two amazing contests offered by the VFW and supported by the VFW Auxiliary. The 2020-2021 Program Year brings back two different topics for the Voice of Democracy Audio-Essay and Patriot’s Pen Essay Contests. First, the Voice of Democracy theme: “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?” Second, the Patriot’s Pen theme: “What is Patriotism to Me?” The following tips will help ensure success while supporting these two contests:
- Verify contact information on websites and share contest details on social media.
- Visit schools, homeschool groups and youth groups, if acceptable. Follow facial covering and social-distancing requirements.
- Contact neighborhood associations and retirement home groups to answer questions from potential contest candidates who may be children or grandchildren.
- Communicate deadline reminders to your local Post of October 31, 2020.
Judges are essential at all levels of these two contests. Be sure to request potential judges by the beginning of October. Post judging must be completed by November 15. District judging must be completed by December 15. Department judging must be completed by January 10. When selecting judges, consider the following:
- Rely on community members for impartial judging versus Post or Auxiliary members.
- Share contest requirements, deadlines and contact information.
- Identify an odd number to break the potential for a tie.
- Schedule a date and location (e.g., in-person, remote, or combination, if applicable).
Celebrate student participation and acknowledge the winners at a special or combination contest ceremony. A wonderful tradition has been to have the winning entries read by the students during these public events. Here are a few ideas to recognize contest participation:
- Invite all participating students, including their parents, teachers or community leaders.
- Host a luncheon or dinner in their honor or joint event with both the VFW and Auxiliary.
- Request permission to attend a school awards event or forum.
Visit the VFW’s website for each contest’s rules and eligibility requirements, and to download the 2020-2021 entry form applications.