Working alongside America’s youth and instilling a sense of patriotism has always been — and will always be — a VFW priority.

Scholarships & Teacher of the Year Award 

Voice of Democracy (grades 9-12) (Deadline October 31, 2021)
Patriot's Pen (grades 6-8) (Deadline October 31, 2021)
Teacher of the Year Award (Deadline January 01, 2022)
(Click file below)
National Scholarship Brochure

Patriot's Pen 

Each year more than 111,000 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 $900,000 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 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. 

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. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements

Post Level, District Level, and Department Level Awards Presented dependent upon Ranking.

The 2021 - 2022 Patriots Pen Theme is;

How Can I Be A Good American

(Click file below

Patriots Pen Rules & Eligibility document

Patriots Pen Entry Form (fillable pdf)


 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 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $1.9 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? Read the rules and eligibility requirements

Post Level, District Level, and Department Level Awards Presented dependent upon Ranking.

 The 2021 - 2022 Voice of Democracy Theme is;

America: Where Do We go From Here?

(Click file below)

 Teacher of the Year

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. Effective this year, VFW Post Teacher Award Chairman may submit a candidate to their Department Headquarters by January 1 in each category. The Department may select a single candidate for each of the three awards and submit those to VFW National Headquarters by February 1. VFW’s Department Teacher winners that are received at National Headquarters will receive a VFW National citation for both the winning teacher and their school in each grade category.
 Who Is Eligible?
1. Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism are prime candidates for this award. For example, do you know a teacher who plans field trips to city hall or organizes community volunteer projects? Maybe you know an instructor who invites veterans into the classroom to discuss their military experiences. Perhaps you are familiar with a teacher who fosters the development of democratic values and beliefs through special projects. If you know of such a teacher, honor him or her today.
2. All current certified/licensed teachers in grades K-12 are eligible. Previous national winners are ineligible. Nominations can be submitted by themselves, fellow teachers, supervisors, family members or other interested individuals. Documentation required for all Candidates:
 All Post-level nominees should provide a one-page resume as a minimum or up to five pages as a maximum of documentation of their teaching experience (for example: references, news articles, etc.) and a head-and-shoulder photo of themselves. These items will be forwarded on to the Department with the winning Teacher Entry form.

 (Click link below)
NOTE for VFW Post: The only item the National VFW Programs Department requires is the "VFW Department Teacher Award Citation Request Form” which is now available on the VFW website. Simply visit, log in to My VFW, then look under Member Resources, click on VFW Training & Support, then click on Community Service & Youth Programs, then look under Additional Resources. The Teacher Entry form, Instruction sheet, Citation Request form and Chairman’s manual will be up on the VFW website in the near future.