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The Lantern

Filed under News

Voice of the generation

The Voice of Democracy contest recently announced its three winners.

All the students who participated in the Voice of Democracy contest

All the students who participated in the Voice of Democracy contest

Katie Allen

Katie Allen

All the students who participated in the Voice of Democracy contest

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Every American has a hope for the country’s future. They range from equality for all and unification to move forward. Many people take every chance they can get to announce their opinions or thoughts. The annual Voice of Democracy contest held by the VFW was the perfect chance for students to voice their opinions.

Five students took part in this national event with all participants beginning at the city level. From the city level, first place moves on to the district. From district is state and then an all expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for the national competition. This contest was established in 1947 and now has nearly 40,000 participants in grades 9-12. All enter with a hope of winning the grand prize: $30,000 paid directly to the American University that student will be attending.

This year’s theme was “American history: my hope for the future”. Spending a few weeks writing the three to five minute long speech, the students sent in their voice recording of them reading it. Some recordings had to be done over and over to make it perfect. Along with the recording, paperwork, a written copy, and a picture of the student had to be sent in. “Hard work pays off and the money was definitely a nice surprise,” Owen Edstrom states.

The five participants for this year arrived at the Cannon Falls VFW for a light dinner and the award ceremony on Monday, December 11th. After parents and students ate the sloppy joes, pickles, and chips, the awards began. Duane Hermanson, the head of Cannon Falls VFW, announced the winner. Senior, Grant Schlichting, came in first earning $250. Freshman, Owen Edstrom, placed second walking away with $150 and junior, Lindy Edstrom, earned third place and $100. Nathan VanZuilen, a junior, and Amelia Qualey, a freshman, received $25 and came in fourth and fifth. Grant Schlichting’s speech advanced to the district level and placed third among tough competition.

Hermanson continued with the three participants in the Patriot’s Pen competition for middle schoolers. Anna Dubbles placed first with Ari Wells in second and Mitchell Hoffman in third. The head of the CF VFW encouraged everyone to participate again next year and is hoping for more participants. He and everyone at the VFW are grateful for the students inspiring speeches.

Everything starts with a hope, whether it’s hope for equality, unity, or many other matters. This contest was a great way to announce the hopes that these dedicated students may turn into a reality.  

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Voice of the generation