Youth and Education

Youth Scholarships

The VFW is dedicated to promoting patriotism and investing in our future generation. If you are a democracy-loving high school student interested in a $30,000 college scholarship or a patriotic middle school student interested in winning $5,000, these scholarships may be for you.

Attention Teachers! 

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2019-20. We thank all of America’s teachers and youth leaders for the time, effort and commitment they invest in our young people each year. We have a number of ways in which to assist you in helping to ensure your students get a head start on their future.

Get Acquainted with VFW’s Programs National Scholarship Programs Brochure

Voice of Democracy

Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 64,500 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program. 

Voice of Democracy Rules and Eligibility

Check back for the 2021-2022 essay theme

Patriot’s Pen

The national first place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. A complete list of other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first place winner from each VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000. Want to apply?

Each year more than 165,400 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000! 

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.

Patriot’s Pen Rules and Eligibility

Check back for the 2021-2022 essay theme

Scout of the Year

Some of our earliest ties to the community involve youth groups and perhaps none are stronger or more lasting than the relationship between the VFW and America’s scouting organizations. In fact, our partnership with the Boy Scouts of America dates back to 1915 when VFW Post 2100 helped to establish Troop 1 in Everett, Washington.

Our Scout of the Year program provides members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who display standout citizenship, patriotism and love of country with the opportunity to be rewarded with college scholarships of up to $5,000. 

Please review the rules and eligibility requirements before submitting your Scout of the Year application.

Scout of the Year Rules and Eligibility Requirements Scout of the Year Application

The completed application must be received at a local participating VFW Post by the March 1st deadline

Teacher of the Year

Without our nation’s veterans, America wouldn’t be the great nation it is today. Our youth deserve to learn about our rich history, traditions and the role of our veterans in creating and shaping America.

Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects elementary, middle, and high school teachers to participate in the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher program.

Please review the new rules and eligibility requirements before you nominate a teacher you know.

New Teacher of the Year Rules and Elegibility Requirements Teacher of the Year Nomination Form

Teacher nomination entries must be received at a local participating VFW Post by the October 31st deadline.

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