Chance J. Bonfanti, a freshman in St. Mary’s High School, Lynn, MA, was named the VFW Department of Massachusetts’s first place winner and recipient of the Voice of Democracy Award in the 2021-2022 Youth Scholarship Program. VFW Witch City Post #1524 in Salem sponsored Chance. Last year, Chance (who lives in Peabody, MA) earned a third-place position in the VFW Department of Massachusetts Patriot’s Pen entry.
“The Voice of Democracy competition provides high school students with the opportunity to speak out on freedom and democracy,” says VFW Department Commander Doug Wood. “The program has been popular and successful since its beginning in 1947, and we’re proud to keep offering it to America’s young people.”
The Voice of Democracy is a worldwide audio-essay competition that requires entrants to write and record a three-to-five minute essay on a patriotic theme. “America: Where Do We Go From Here?” was this year’s theme.
Over 260 Massachusetts students participated in the competition this year. As one of fifty-four finalists worldwide, Chance will be entered at the national level for the first-place prize of a $30,000 college scholarship.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) started the Voice of Democracy Scholarship program in 1947. The VFW became a national sponsor in the late 1950s and assumed sole responsibility for the program in 1961. The competition was created to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regard to democratic ideas and principles. Around 40,000 students participate in the competition each year and the VFW awards more than $2 million in scholarships every year.
About the VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is the nation’s largest and oldest major war veterans organization. Founded in 1899, the congressionally-chartered VFW is comprised entirely of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. With more than 1.6 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in 6,200 Posts worldwide, the nonprofit veterans service organization is proud to proclaim “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS” than the VFW, which is dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs. For more information or to join, visit our website at www.VFW.org.