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West Hartford Student a Winner in VFW ‘Voice of Democracy’ Essay Contest

Charles Wang (center) is congratulated by John Romano, Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, District 3 Connecticut, and Linda Ciccone, President, VFW District 3 Auxiliary on his third place win for the Voice of Democracy essay contest. Submitted photo

The Connecticut Veterans of Foreign Wars District Three and its Auxiliary has announced that a sophomore from West Hartford’s Hall High School is a third place winner in the ‘Voice of Democracy’ essay contest for 2019-2020.


At a ceremony Feb. 8, the Department of Connecticut Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) announced the top winners in the 2019-2020 Voice of Democracy (VOD) District Three essay contest, and Charles Wang, a sophomore at Hall High School in West Hartford, was the third place winner.  

This year’s theme was “What Makes America Great.” The top essay winners from District Three are:

  • First Place – Ayushman Choudhury, junior at Ellington High School. He was sponsored by VFW Post 10689, Ellington, CT.
  • Second Place – Ryan Humphrey, senior, Glastonbury High School. He was sponsored by VFW Post 2046 of Glastonbury, CT.
  • Third Place – Charles Wang, sophomore, Hall High School, West Hartford. He was sponsored by VFW Post 9929 and Auxiliary, West Hartford, CT.

All three were presented certificates and a monetary award at a ceremony on Feb. 8 in Plainville, CT, at the Third District’s Annual Awards Breakfast of the Department of Connecticut Veterans of Foreign War and its Auxiliary.

“The Voice of Democracy competition provides high school students with the opportunity to speak out on freedom and democracy,” stated Richard DiFederico, State VFW Voice of Democracy Chairman. “The program has been popular and successful since its beginning in 1947 and we are proud to keep offering it to America’s young citizens.”

After receiving his award, Wang remarked, “this was an incredible opportunity for me and I really enjoyed working on this year’s theme.”

Created in 1947, the VOD audio-essay contest has been the VFW’s premier scholarship program since 1961. It is open to high school students who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in grades 9-12. 

Each year 40,000 students across the country participate to compete for $2 million in scholarships and incentives. Contestants record a 3- to 5-minute essay based on an annual patriotic theme which is submitted to their local sponsor VFW Post. The Post winners move on to a District level and those winners to a statewide competition during the fall of the academic year.

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 in grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regard to democratic ideas and principles. A copy of the entry form and rules can be found at http://vfw.org/Community/Voice-of-Democracy/

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