There were over 500 entries from six local schools received in this year's Voice of Democracy (VOD) scholarship essay program sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "This year we had a greater number of students participating than ever before, and last year we had more entries from our Kenai area, then the rest of the state combined," said Rachel Jurco of the VFW Women's Auxiliary.
For last six years or more, Rachel in partnership with her husband Joe, have spearheaded the VFW VOD program, which annually awards cash scholarships to local students. During that time three local students have gone to at the national level. Local winners receive $1,000 and 2nd place winners $500 in addition to collector coins that will be awarded to students this year.
State winners receive U.S. Savings bonds, and go on to the national competition in Washington D.C. and opportunities at $25,000. The state level judging takes place during the last two weeks of December.
Last week a broad-based volunteer panel of community judges listened to the final 23 tape-recorded essays. On the panel were Dayne Clark, Professor at KPC, Dorothy Gray, KPBSD, Faith Hall, Home Schooling parent, Paul Miller, Trustworthy Hardware, Robb Neiderhouser, Safeway, Merrill Sikorsky, Public Relations Consultant, Ginger Steffy, Director KPC, Sgt. Charles Tressler, Alaska State Troopers, Chief Shirley Warner, SPD, and Erica Williamson, Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. The theme for this year's program was "Reaching Out to America's Future." The essay winner will be announced at a later date.
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