BANGOR – Commander of the District 4 Veterans of Foreign Wars Weldon P. Young Jr. and District 4 Voice of Democracy-Patriot’s Pen Chairman Paul S. Colburn have announced the winners of the 2008-2009 District 4 (Ellsworth, Bangor, Old Town, Orrington, Hampden, Brewer) Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen competitions.
Each year, the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen competitions draw entries from more than 100,000 students and award $2.5 million in scholarships and incentives at local, district, state and national levels.
The Voice of Democracy competition challenges ninth- through 12-graders to write and record three- to five-minute audio essays on a patriotic theme. This year’s prompt was “Service and Sacrifice by America’s Veterans Benefit Today’s Youth by … .” Entries were judged by originality, content and delivery.
This year’s Patriot’s Pen competition asked sixth- to eighth-graders to address “Why America’s Veterans Should be Honored” in 300- to 400-word essays. Essays were judged according to knowledge of the theme, theme development and clarity.
Student entries are judged at the Post, District, Department (state) and National levels. First-place winners for each division go on to compete at the next level.
This year’s District 4 Voice of Democracy winners:
First place – Jennifer Eckert of Mount Desert Island High School.
Second place – Gretchen Veevaert of Bangor Christian School.
Third place – Jordan Lorenz of Hermon High School.
This year’s District 4 Patriot’s Pen winners:
First place – Maggie Keating of Surry Elementary School.
Second place – Timothy Coston of Hampden Reeds Brook Middle School.
Third place – Shay Wescott of Acadia Christian School.
Department winners will be awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national judging in April, including a tour of the city and the opportunity to meet national leaders.
In the past, students from Maine have placed second, third and fifth in the national competition.
Students representing each state in the final judging will be eligible to win scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $30,000, courtesy of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Ladies Auxiliary.