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Voice of Democracy Audio/Essay Contest. Since 1947, the VFW has asked high school students to write and record a 3 – 5 minute essay, again on a patriotic theme selected by the VFW each year. Students may record on an audio CD or flash drive. Like Patriot’s Pen, Voice of Democracy winners receive scholarships and other incentives at the Post, District, and Department and finally to the National level where they will compete for the $30,000 first place scholarship.