American Legion, VFW

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Two of the most widely recognized veterans’ groups in the United States, The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, have youth education and scholarship programs that offer U.S. citizen youths various opportunities. 

These programs include the VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot Pen and the American Legion’s Boys State, Girls State and the Oratorical Contest. More information is available by contacting the Anthem American Legion Post and the Anthem VFW posts using the contact information below.

VFW High School Voice of Democracy Audio-Essay Scholarship Program

Cmdr. Chuck Hale of the VFW Anthem Post 12031 unveiled this year’s its Voice of Democracy Scholarship competition. Local high school students can compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C.

Students must write and record a 3- to 5-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 2022 theme selected is “Why Is The Veteran Important?” Students begin by competing at the school level and at the local Post level, then Post winners compete at the District level with the winner advancing to the state competition. 

At each school the first-place winner is awarded $100, second place winner is awarded $75, and third-place winner is awarded $50. 

Interested students and teachers should contact VFW Post 12031 point of contact by email at gwalker2105@cox.net. 

VFW Middle School Essay Scholarship Program 

VFW Anthem Post 12031 is also hosting the Patriot’s Pen youth essay competition. Middle school students in grades sixth to eighth in this area can compete and win thousands of dollars in national awards.

The VFW enacted the Patriot’s Pen competition in 1995 to encourage young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society by composing a 300- to 400-word patriotic-themed essay. The theme for the 2022 competition is “My Pledge to Our Veterans.”

Students begin by competing at each school and at the Post level. At each school the first-place winner is awarded $100, second-place winner is awarded $75, and third-place winner is awarded $50. Post winners advance to district competition with district winners advancing to the state competition. State first-place winners compete for their share of thousands of dollars in awards, and the national first-place winner is awarded $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.  The typed essay must be submitted to the Post by Oct. 31. If the essay is to be submitted through the school, the school should establish an appropriate deadline.

Each year, more than 125,000 students participate nationwide. Interested students and teachers should contact VFW Post 12031 at gwalker2105@cox.net.

Boys State

The American Legion Arizona Boys State is a plan for training young men in the functional aspects of citizenship. It is a program of education conducted by The American Legion, Department of Arizona.  

Its purpose is to teach the youth of today constructive attitudes toward the American form of government. The American Legion Arizona Boys State shows that our scheme of government has not outworn its usefulness; all a republic needs is an intelligent citizenry, and an honest and impartial administration responsive to the will of the people. It is a practical school of government, a program of education by participation – showing the part of each person can play within our system of government.

Boys State provides students a chance to learn how to be better citizens by establishing a mythical 51st state patterned after Arizona. Students who attend are responsible for the governing of this mythical state.  They elect their own state, county, and city officers from the governor down and establish legislatures and city councils.  

Students are selected to attend Boys State by showing the following qualities: character, leadership, attitude, and involvement in the school plus service in the community.

Once students have been selected to participate in Boys State, they participate in workshops where cities are established, officials are elected, and laws are made and enforced.  Classes on law and educational assemblies are presented, ranging from careers to party unity.

Boys State is held in June at NAU in Flagstaff. More information will be provided as it becomes available. Interested students and teachers should contact post128@azlegion.org.

Girls State 

Girls State is a program sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. Understanding the law and understanding how our government works are primary goals of Girls State. Girls State provides students a chance to learn how to be better citizens by establishing a mythical 51st state patterned after Arizona. Students who attend are responsible for the governing of this mythical state. They elect their own state, county, and city officers from the governor down and establish legislatures and city councils.  

Students are selected to attend Girls State by showing the following qualities: character, leadership, attitude, and involvement in the school plus service in the community.

Once students have been selected to participate in Girls State, they participate in workshops where cities are established, officials are elected, and laws are made and enforced. Classes on law and educational assemblies are presented, ranging from careers to party unity.

Girls State is held in June at the campus of UA in Tucson. Interested students and teachers should email post128@azlegion.org.

American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program

American Legion Post 128 of Anthem, Arizona, will host the American Legion Oratorical Contest for 2023. Post 128 will conduct a post level contest for students in the Anthem-New River-Desert Hills-Tramonto area for the period October 2022 to February 2023. Applications must be submitted to Post 128 no later than Jan. 10. The Post 128 contest will be conducted the first week of February.

The American Legion Oratorical Contest centers around knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. Scholarships are available for high school students with the overall national contest winner receiving a $25,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $22,500, and third gets $20,000. The Arizona American Legion Department winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $2,000 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $2,000 scholarship.

Eligible participants must be citizens of or lawful permanent residents of the United States. All contestants must be bona fide students herein described as any student under the age of 20 years on the date of the national contest who is presently enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or home school). There are additional guidelines for those who wish to participate. More information is available for those who express an interest in participating.

For more information contact the Arizona American Legion Post 128 commander by telephone at: 303-619-3041 or by email at: post128@azlegion.org.