Four seniors recognized in VFW Voices of America Audio Essay Contest

L-R: Third place winner Elijah Soyke ’19, VFW Post 4256 District Commander Ronald D. Mills, Farragut history teacher Mark Panuthos, and first place winner Madilyn Landry ’19

On Monday, February 18, four Farragut seniors were recognized for their audio essay submissions in the annual VFW “Voices of Democracy” essay contest. The topic this year was “Why My Vote Matters” and the students developed their speeches by talking with family and friends and conducting independent research. Audio essay submissions had to be at least three to five minutes long and were submitted last October.

Farragut students dominated the competition taking two first-place finishes, along with second and third place. Congratulations to Steven Smiley ‘19 and Madilyn Landry ‘19 who both won first place at the district level. Steven argued that voting isn’t merely a right but a responsibility and Madilyn focused on the importance of voting now to preserve future freedoms. The first place winners will have an opportunity to compete with other high schools in Florida at the regional competition in Orlando later this year. Congratulations also to Vanessa Amaya ‘19 who finished second and Elijah Soyke ‘19 who finished third.

The award winners of the evening. Farragut students, third place winner Elijah Soyke ’19, first place winner Madilyn Landry ’19, and second place winner Vanessa Amaya ’19 are to the far left. The other Farragut first place winner, Steven Smiley ’19, won through a different VFW post and is not pictured.

About the VFW Voices of America Audio Essay Contest

Established in 1947, the 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 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.

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 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Want to apply? While the application deadline for the 2018-19 competition has passed, read the rules and eligibility requirements in preparation for next year’s competition which opens mid-April every year.