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-Mayor Virg Bernero

Mayor Virg Bernero
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VFW Essay Contests

Voice of Democracy

What is the voice of democracy program?
Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, more than 50,000 high school students compete for more than $2.3 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording a broadcast script on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme, Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?

Why Should I Enter?
Prizes and scholarships are awarded at the local, district, state and national level. Department (State) winners receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., March 2-6, 2013, to tour the city, meet our nation’s leaders, be honored by the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary and receive their portion of $152,000 in national awards, the top scholarship being $30,000.

The Rules

Who can enter?
The Voice of Democracy is open to students in grades 9-12, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or in an overseas U.S. military/civilian dependant school. Foreign exchange students, students age 20 or over and previous Voice of Democracy first place state winners are ineligible.

What do I need to enter?
Record your original 3-5 minute (+ or – 5 seconds max.) essay on a standard cassette tape or CD. One student per CD or cassette. Preferred format for CD’s is the audio CD format. When burning your CD, make sure that “Create Audio CD” option (or similar) is selected so the program can properly convert your sound file and burn it to CD. After it has finished, be sure to play back your audio CD on a system other than your computer, such as a standard radio or car CD player, to verify that the conversion/burning process was successful. Label the recording, neatly typed essay and attach this completed entry form. Provide these items to your school/group competition or local VFW Post for judging. All recordings must be in your own voice. Hearing/speech impaired students should contact the Voice of Democracy National Office at (816) 968-1117 for special instructions. No music, singing, poetry or sound effects are allowed. The body of the essay must not identify you in any way, although the recording & typed essay should be labeled with your name, to show ownership. You may enter only one Voice of Democracy competition per year.

Where do I submit my entry?
All entries begin at the Post level. The only exception is where schools/classes/youth groups have large numbers of students and wish to conduct their own competition, submitting one winner for each 15 students to the local VFW Post competition. Individual students may submit their entry directly to the Post providing they have not competed at a school/class competition.

One winner for every 15 entries from each Post advances to District and one District winner advances to the state (Department) competition. State winners are invited to Washington, D.C where their essays compete in the finals competition.

If you need help finding a participating VFW Post in your area, call (816) 968-1117, e-mail to kharmer@vfw.org or visit our website at www.vfw.org

What is the deadline for my entry?
All entries competing at the Post level must be in the hands of that VFW Post by midnight, Nov. 1, 2012. It is the responsibility of the student to meet this deadline by submitting their entry to te proper location by ensuring it is a participating Post.

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.
The Impact of the Voice of Democracy

National finalist Stephanie D’Abruzzo Shemin is a graduate of Northwestern University in Speech and a performer with the Jim Henson Company’s Muppets.

  • ”What VOD did was prepare me for college and the real world. I saw how I could find my place in this world.”

Past national winner Dr. Gary Belkin is a psychiatrist and ethicist at Harvard and Brown Medical Schools

  • ”The whole Voice of Democracy program was an experience that is still with me.”

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has again approved this content for its National Advisory List of Contests and Activities.

Official Rules for Students Advancing to National Level

If selected as a first-place state winner, I have the consent of my parent/guardian and school to attend the Voice of Democracy National Finals in Washington, D.C. as a guest of the VFW National Organization. I understand that state winners who do not attend as stated above will forfeit all rights to compete in the National Finals and will be replaced by their state’s second place winner. In the event my tape is selected for entry into the National Voice of Democracy Competition, I do hereby for myself, for my heirs, executors, administrators and assignees; waive, release and discharge all rights and claims which I have or which may hereafter accrue against the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) and/or the several Departments (state organizations) of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and their respective officers, agents, successors and assigns from any damages which may be sustained by me in connection with my participation in or association with the VFW Voice of Democracy Competition and/or arising out of my travel to and during the Competition. In the event of sickness, accident or injury in connection with the Competition, I consent to and accept the services of a duly licensed medical, surgical or dental specialist selected on my behalf and for such treatments, as they may deem necessary. I understand that VFW will not be liable for such treatment. I further understand that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States retains non-exclusive rights to use my tape, essay and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization’s programs and activities.

For more information, visit the Voice of Democracy page here.

Patriot’s Pen

What is Patriot’s Pen?
Conducted nationwide, this VFW sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy with the prospect of winning U.S. savings bonds. We invite you to join the more than 129,000 students who participated last year in this contest. The top 46 national winners all receive at least a $1,000 savings bond. The first-place award is currently a $10,000 savings bond plus an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the winner and a parent or guardian. This years theme, What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers?

Big National Prizes
Prizes include the various amounts of U.S. Savings Bonds listed below:

1st $10,000 Bond 7th $3,500 Bond
2nd $8,000 Bond 8th $3,000 Bond
3rd $7,000 Bond 9th $2,500 Bond
4th $5,500 Bond 10th $2,000 Bond
5th $5,000 Bond 11th $1,500 Bond
6th $4,000 Bond 12th $1,000 Bond

 

 

 

 

 

 

When is the deadline?
To qualify, all entries must be submitted to a sponsoring VFW Post by November 1, 2012.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has again approved this contest for its National Advisory List of Contests and Activities.

How does this contest work?

Where do I submit my entry?
All entries begin at the Post level. The only exception is where schools/classes/youth groups have large numbers of students and wish to conduct their own competition, submitting one winner for each 15 students to the local VFW Post competition. Individual students may submit their entry directly to the Post providing they have not competed at a school/class competition.

The contest consists of four levels. The first level (entry) is sponsored by local VFW Posts. Post winners advance, one for every 15, to the VFW District (regional) level where the one first-place winner is advanced to the VFW Department (state) level. The one first-place district winner at the Department level is then advanced into the VFW National competition. The winner from each Department (state) then competes for the national prizes.

Who can enter?
Patriot’s Pen is open to 6th-, 7th- and 8th grade students enrolled in public, private or parochial schools in the U.S., its territories or its possessions. Home-schooled students are also eligible

Dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools can participate too. (Foreign exchange students and former winners that placed in the National finals are excluded from the contest.)

How do I get started?

  • Ask a teacher or youth group/club adult leader to supervise the Patriot’s Pen writing competition.
  • Contact a local VFW Post and indicate your interest in participating.
  • Establish a contact person who is a member of that VFW Post or its Ladies Auxiliary.
  • Make sure that your essay is submitted to the VFW Post before the contest deadline of Nov. 1, 2012.

How am I judged
You will be judged on how well you understand, develop and present the theme. A Positive approach is recommended to express your viewpoint.

Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points:

  • You must show a thorough knowledge of the theme in your work. Demonstrate you have researched the issue extensively

Theme development is worth 35 points:

  • Answer all relevant facts about the theme such as the who, what, where, when and why. Relate the theme to your own experiences.

Clarity of ideas is worth 35 points:

  • Write your essay in an easy-to-understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of your explanation of the theme.

What is the theme?
VFW’s Commander-in-Chief annually chooses the year’s theme. The 2012-13 theme is What I would Tell America’s Founding Fathers

What are the rules?

  • Essay length:300-400 typewritten words.
  • You must write your own essay.
  • All essays should be typewritten in English with no color or graphics and cannot be less than 300 words or greater than 400 words in length. (Essays under or over these word amounts will be eliminated.) Every word is counted regardless of length. The essay title (theme) or added footnotes do not contribute to the word count.

Deadline
The completed essay and entry form must be in the hands of the VFW Post Chairman by midnight of Nov. 1, 2012.

In no way may contestants identify themselves within their essay. Do not put your name on your essay. The entry form is your essay’s cover sheet. Secure the Official Student Entry Form with a staple or other fastener on top of your essay. Contestants are allowed to enter only once (one Post competition). Contestants found in violation of this rule will face elimination from the competition and will be required to return any and all prize money received

The essay must be a contestant’s original work and a product of the contestant’s own thinking. The approach to the Patriot’s Pen theme should be positive and clearly focused. Poetry is not acceptable. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified wherever used. A contestant’s teacher, counselor or parent may check the essay for punctuation, grammar and/or spelling, but the content must remain the contestant’s. Contestants will be judged on the basis of their essay alone and are not required to present the essay orally. All essay become the property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW retain non-exclusive rights to use your essay and likeness in the promotion an execution of the organization’s programs and activities

Note: All entries must be submitted to a VFW Post competition. If you have a difficulty identifying a sponsoring Post in your area, call the Patriot’s Pen national office at: (816) 756-3390, ext. 220 or e-mail swilson@vfw.org

For more information, visit the Patriot’s Pen home page here.

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Virg Bernero
Mayor
Contact
9th Floor City Hall
124 W. Michigan
Lansing, MI 48933
Ph: 517-483-4141
Lansing.Mayor@lansingmi.gov

HOURS
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.