Getting students to write about democracy
Summer is almost gone, children are back in school, and high school football is in full swing. The younger kids are also playing football and soccer after school at the city parks.
I heard an interesting report the other day about our education system here in the United States.
Our precollege education is far behind the rest of the world. Example: Asian countries place more value on education than we do. They send their children to the United States for college education, and yet our own children have a difficult time getting admitted to colleges and universities. Another interesting thing that came out of the report is that our high school students are not taught the basics of how to prepare and write an essay, do research and prepare a written report. They are expected to know these subjects coming out of middle school. The sad thing is that high school teachers have their hands tied. Teachers must be able to teach students what they need to know to survive in such a competitive job market. SAT scores are down, and most colleges require a student to provide an essay about a certain subject or why that student wishes to attend that particular college or university. In most cases a student can not quantify or qualify the reason why. Playing varsity sports does not always lead to a scholarship; besides, you have to have a major subject toward a degree. The Veterans of Foreign Wars has always made our youth a priority.
Each year, almost 40,000 high school students enter the audio essay contest for a chance to win a share of $2.2 million in scholarships.
The Voice of Democracy program was started in 1947 to provide high school students the opportunity to express themselves in democratic ideas and principles. The national first place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship to the American university, college or vocational/technical school of their choice.
Scholarships range from as low as $1,000 to $16,000, and each state winner is provided an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. This year’s theme is “Why I’m Optimistic about our Nation’s Future.” Rules are listed in the VOD program site.
Middle school students are not left out. The annual Patriot’s Pen is an essay contest geared at the middle school student.
The VFW believes in good citizenship and fostering patriotism. The VFW encourages our youths to examine our nation’s history and their own experiences in modern America.
Each year, more than 100,000 middle school students enter to win awards totaling $46,000. The national first place winner receives $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March. The students prepare a 300- to 400-word essay expressing their views on a topic chosen by the VFW National Commander. This year’s theme “What Patriotism Means to Me.” These essay contests will help students gain some experience in letter writing but is no substitute for a good education. There is a scouting contest and a “teacher of the year” contest as well as a community service contest. Since adults usually read this column, I would encourage you to pass this information on to your students. These contests are open to any student in a public, charter, private or home school.
Find the information by going to the VFW website at vfw.org, click on community, click on programs, then click on any of the contest information pages. The rules and registration forms can be printed out.
Students are able to turn their entries into any VFW post.
In Montezuma County, you can contact me for VFW Post No. 5231 at 560-1891. In Dove Creek, contact VFW Post No. 5181 at 667-3200. The DAV Veterans Directory is going to print this week and the DAV should have them out shortly.
Thanks to all the business that are supporting DAV transportation system. The DAV raffle went well and brought in some monies for the DAV van.
The VFW is inviting the community to a Harvest Supper Pig Roast on the Oct. 12, at the VFW Post at 134 West Grand in Mancos, Start time is 3 p.m.
Cost is $10 per person, children younger than 12 are free. There will be food, roasted pig and other foods, music for your listening enjoyment and a band in the Opera House for dancing.
Bring the family and join us for an afternoon and evening of family fun. Proceeds go to help veterans in Montezuma County. Robert Valencia is a retired Army Sergeant First Class, a member of the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He can be reached at 970-560-1891. Please tune into Veterans Forum at 8:30 a.m. the last Friday of the month on KSJD 90.5 FM, 91.1 FM radio.