VFW Lake Guernsey Post 4471 Announces Contest Winners


GUERNSEY — Lake Guernsey VFW Post 4471 is proud to announce the Post and District 5 winners of the 2023-24 Patriot’s Pen, Voice of Democracy, and Smart/Maher Citizenship Education Teacher Award contests. The 2023 Patriot’s Pen Winners for 6th grade are 1st place Aaron Ward, 2nd place William Hayes, and 3rd place Nevaeh Ibarra. 

7th grade winners are1st place Devlin Larson and 1st Place District 5 and advancing to Department contest, 2nd place Gavin Noggle, and 3rd place Ryker McConahay.

8th grade winners are 1st place Mariella Alfelor and 3rd Place District 5, 2nd place Allen Valtierra-Gray and 3rd place Linkon Rotz.

The VFW enacted the Patriot’s Pen youth essay competition in 1995 as a way to encourage young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society while improving their writing skills.

The contest is a worldwide competition that gives students in grades 6, 7, and 8 the opportunity to write a 300- to 400-word theme-based essay expressing their views on democracy while competing for worthwhile awards and prizes. This year’s theme was “How are you inspired by America?”

The 2023 Voice of Democracy Winners are 1st place Chase Kelley and 1st Place District 5 and advancing to Department contest, 2nd place Nathan VanNatter, and 3rd place Kailey Haase.

“The Voice of Democracy competition provides high school students with the opportunity to speak out on freedom and democracy,” said VFW Post 4471 Commander Steve Keigley and VFW Department of Wyoming District 5 Commander Rob Courtier. “The program has been popular and successful since its beginning in 1947, and we’re proud to keep offering it to America’s young people.”

The Voice of Democracy is a worldwide audio-essay competition that requires entrants to write and record a three-to-five-minute essay on a patriotic-based theme. “What are the greatest attributes of our Democracy?” was this year’s theme.

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 grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regard to democratic ideas and principles. Around 40,000 students participate in the competition each year and VFW awards more than $2.1 million in scholarships every year.

The 2023 Smart/Maher Citizenship Education Teacher Award Winner is Mrs. Daphne Malcom, 4th Grade – 1st Place District 5 and advancing to Department contest.

“We are so appreciative of Mrs. Malcom and every teacher who participated in this year’s program. Their commitment to teach the value of citizenship and patriotism to their students will greatly benefit our communities as these students grow into involved adults,” said VFW Post 4471 Commander Steve Keigley and District 5 Commander Rob Courtier.

The VFW Teacher of the Year award program was enacted in 1999 as a way to identify and recognize America’s best educators who instill a sense of national pride in students by teaching citizenship education topics regularly and promoting America’s history and traditions effectively. The program continues to exceed expectations and program administrators expect the number of participants will continue to grow each year.

Lake Guernsey VFW Post 4471 wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the Guernsey Branch of Banner Capital Bank for providing complimentary gift cards for the winners’ monetary awards.