The Perham Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4020 recently announced its local 2021-2022 Voice of Democracy winners.
Clara Tangen, a junior at Perham High School, earned first place honors for her essay, which was on the theme, “America: Where do we go from here?” Tangen recited her essay at the annual Veterans Day program at the high school, held Nov. 11. LaVonne Lindberg received second place honors and Lily Aakre received third place.
Perham VFW president Ellen Lampton said the contestants submitted audio submissions of three to five minutes long. They were judged locally and the winner, Tangen, will go on to the district level. There are 25 auxiliaries in District 9 and one winner will be chosen to advance to the state level. That state winner will compete at a national competition.
“It started in 1947, and the program is our national audio essay scholarship competition that gives high school students the opportunity to voice their opinion on their responsibility to our country,” Lampton said. “The students compete by writing and recording a broadcast script with an annual topic.”
Lampton said the quality of this year's entrants was excellent.
“Every year the high school students submit their essays with great quality,” Lampton said. “We have to judge the clarity, the timeliness of their essay and the handwritten copy for mistakes. A third of it is based on the content of the theme, which this year was "America: Where do we go from here?”
Lampton presented Tangen, Lindberg and Aakre with their awards during the Veterans Day program at the school.
The Voice of Democracy essay contest is open to students in grades 9-12 who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States, its territories and possessions; or dependents of the U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools.