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Wake Forest Memorial Post 8466, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. announced the winners of its Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen youth essay contests and its Teachers of the Year.
The Voice of Democracy competition is a worldwide audio-essay competition for high school students for which entrants write and record a three-to-five minute essay on a patriotic-based theme. This year’s theme was “Why My Vote Matters.” Entries were received from local high schools and after review by a panel of five judges. Post Commander David Martin announced Ashley Levins from Heritage High School as the first-place winner. Carson Pittarelli from Wake Forest High School placed second and Thomas Pope, also from Wake Forest, received the third-place prize.
Their entries were submitted for judging at the VFW District 7 competition. The winner of the district will compete at the state level. Each of the state winners will then travel to Washington, D.C., and compete for various awards up to a first-place prize of a $30,000 college scholarship.
The Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest is also a worldwide competition that gives students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to write a 300 to 400 word theme-based essay expressing their views on democracy while competing for awards and prizes. This year’s theme was “Why I Honor the American Flag.” Awards were presented by Martin at a ceremony at their school to first-place winner Mackenzie Mitchell, second-place winner Addison Congleton and third-place winner Ethan Mullis, all from Franklin Academy Middle School in Wake Forest. As with the Voice of Democracy contest, district winners advance to the state level, with state winners competing for national awards ranging from $500 to $5,000.
The VFW Teacher of the Year award program was enacted as a way to identify and recognize America’s best educators who instill a sense of national pride in students by teaching citizenship education topics regularly and promoting America’s history and traditions effectively.
The Post Teachers of the Year were: Marisa Rodgers from Wakefield Elementary School; Jacqueline Healey from Wake Forest Middle School; Janice Page from Wake Forest High School.