Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Organization (VFW) holds the Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition. Tens of thousands of students enter to win up to a $30,000 scholarship, which is awarded to the national first-place winner.
Sophomore Rachel Kane, who heard about the competition in Ledyard High School’s daily announcements, submitted her audio essay and won in both Ledyard and the Eastern Connecticut district. With $200 of scholarship money in her pocket, she hopes to win the statewide competition for $1000 towards her college education.
The 2015-16 theme was “My Vision for America.”
“I envisioned America as a social utopia where everyone had equal access to happiness and the ‘American dream’ was actualized,” Kane said. “This means equal opportunity for everyone, free of discrimination over gender, race, social class or disability.”
While Kane eagerly awaits to find out if she’s won the statewide competition with five other finalists, she’s ecstatic about her performance. “I was already happy to have won the Ledyard competition, but then when I found out I won districts, I was over the moon,” she said. She’s honored to have had her essay chosen out of so many schools in the district.
Kane has given speeches before, such as a testimony in favor of a bill at the Connecticut State Capitol for the General Assembly, but this was her first speech contest entry. To prepare, she sat down to clear her head and made a list in her notebook of “things that make America great.”
She doesn’t yet know what career she would like to pursue in the future, but is interested in writing and political science.
To aspiring speech-writers: “Know what you want to say and know your audience,” Kane advised. “Good speeches are concise, relatable and to the point.”
The VOD Connecticut winner will be announced on Jan. 17.
Carina Wang, Staff Writer
Sophomore Carina Wang is a staff writer for the 2015-2016 Colonel. She is on the FIRST Robotics team.