The Saratoga Sun -

VFW competition winners surprised, honored


Liz Wood presents Dalton Peterson with his national awards.

During a ceremony held before a scheduled speaker at the Platte Valley Community Center Wednesday, the Encampment Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) recognized and awarded their youth scholarship competition winners.

Though the students entered the scholarship contests, they had no idea who won or what they were going to be awarded that day.

So the students, there for another assembly, were surprised to be pulled up to the PVCC theater stage to receive awards and money.

But there was a special tribute to be made, too.

Every year the VFW accepts entries for its youth scholarship competitions, The Voice of Democracy and The Patriot's Pen.

The Voice of Democracy is composed of an oral essay from three to five minutes long that encourages a better understanding and appreciation of America. For this year's Voice of Democracy, entrants were asked to speak on "American History: Our Hope for the Future."

This contest, open to students from ninth to 12th grade, awards the national winner a $30,000 scholarship but winners at local and state levels receive scholarships for their achievements also.

Winners of the local Voice of Democracy competition and the amounts awarded at the ceremony are as follows: Kaitlyn Campbell, 1st, $300; Paige Powell, 2nd, $200; Nina Jackson, 3rd, $125.

For placing first, Campbell's audio file will be forwarded to Wyoming's VFW District 3 to vie in district competition there.

The Patriot's Pen is comprised of a written essay to promote patriotism in American youth. This year's competition, open to students from sixth to eighth grade, asked entrants to reflect on the statement: "America's Gift to My Generation." The national winner of this essay, required to be between 300 to 400 words, can win $5,000.

Local Patriot's Pen winners and the amounts they earned were as follows: Jaden Campbell, 1st, $250; Ashton Powell, 2nd, $175; Shelbie Henrie $100.

Campbell's essay has been sent to VFW District 3 for competition there.

Last, but certainly not least, Encampment's Dalton Peterson was recognized for his last year's Patriot's Pen entry entitled " My America: Strong and Brave."

Peterson's writing won the local, district and state competitions, amassing the student $1,000 in scholarship funds. The essay then went to national level where Peterson placed 26th out of 130,000 original entries.

For this accomplishment Peterson was awarded the national Deering Memorial from Portland, Maine's VFW post 6859. The Deering Memorial also included a $500 scholarship.

Peterson was also presented a plaque from Wyoming's VFW for being an "exceptional spokesperson for patriotism."

For information on entering this year's Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen competitions, visit and go to their community, youth-and-education and youth-scholarships areas. New contest themes, regulations and information will be available after May 30, 2018.


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