Young Local Voices of Democracy Heard Loud and Clear at Ceremony

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(Photo Courtesy of VFW District 10)
District 10 Commander Mark Steinberg presents Claire Kane with her award for winning the Voice of Democracy essay contest. The resident of Discovery Bay will go on to the national contest.

    Since 1947, Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) posts around the country have held essay contests for young students, allowing them to express their views on a patriotic theme. Divided into two essay competitions, the national contest attracts more than 200,000 students each year with Patriot’s Pen (grades 6 – 8) attracting 165,000 and Voice of Democracy (grades 9 – 12) attracting over 65,000.
    On Jan. 30, the State of California’s 17 districts held a virtual awards ceremony where they announced both state winners were from the East Bay’s District 10.
    “I was shocked and excited at the same time,” said Mark Steinberg, Commander, VFM District 10. “It’s very unusual to have state winners from both contests come from the same district. The quality of submissions was extremely high this year, and these were the best of the best.”
    Orinda’s Christian Woo won Patriot’s Pen. VFW Post 8063 in Lafayette sponsored the seventh grade student at Head-Royce School in Oakland. Woo received three scholarships totaling $1,600 for his essay on the theme “What is Patriotism to Me?”
    Named the winner of the Voice of Democracy essay, Discovery Bay’s Claire Kane wrote on the theme “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?” Sponsored by the Brentwood VFM Post, Kane attends Liberty High School in Brentwood and received $2,500 in scholarship funds.
    Both Woo and Kane will now compete at the National level, which includes a grand prize of $5,000 for the winner of the Patriot’s Pen and a $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award for the Voice of Democracy winner.
    “As they each read their essays, I was very proud of the way they represented themselves. The future of our country is in great hands,” said Steinberg.
    Look for information on next year’s competition at www.vfw.org. Due date to submit essays is Oct. 31.

(Photo Courtesy of VFW Post 8063)
Christian Woo reads his winning essay at a virtual ceremony. Woo won the state contest for his entry in the Patriot Pen competition. The Orinda resident competes at the national level next.

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