By Jake Lee Green
Kern Valley Sun
On January 9, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #7665 hosted the Lake Isabella Division of the Honor Flight Kern County breakfast at the VFW. This particular breakfast also hosted to three Kern Valley High School (KVHS) students who participated in this year’s Voice of Democracy patriotic audio-essay competition.
The Voice of Democracy competition is an annual scholarship opportunity that grants students in grades ninth through tenth funding for future endeavors in their academic careers. Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the post, district, state, and national levels. Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy competition has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars primary scholarship opportunity program. Each year nearly 40,000 students compete to share $1.9 million in educational scholarships and incentives by writing and recording a three to five-minute audio essay on varying patriotic themes that are announced at the beginning of the year. Each audio essay is intended to be as anonymous as possible and it is encouraged that students refrain from identifying themselves in the body of the article for judges. Judges look for three qualifying factors when choosing their winners; content, delivery, and originality.
This year’s theme for 2019-2020 was ‘What Makes America Great.’ KVHS students Arian Hess, Mariah Maxwell, and GraciLynn Surico were honored by the Honor Flight for their contributions. Arian Hess made a stunning speech that won her the first place title and a $100 check to fund her academic career. Mariah Maxwell, who was not present, won second and GracieLynn Surico came in third. Arian Hess was kind enough to read Mariah Maxwell’s speech and accept honors in her stead.