Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been Veterans of Foreign Wars' (VFW's) premier scholarship program. Each year, more than 100,000 high school students compete for more than $52.5 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing, and recording a broadcast on an annual patriotic theme. This year's theme is “Is our Constitution Still Relevant?”
The Department of North Carolina has 17 District winners, the top three of whom are invited to the Voice of Democracy/Patriot Pen Banquet to be honored by members of the VFW and its Ladies and Men's Auxiliaries. The department first place winner receives a $2,000 scholarship from the department, and a $1,000 scholarship from the family of Past State Commander Jim Black. He/she also travels to Washington, D.C. to compete against the first place winners of the other 53 VFW departments, and meet the President of the United States. The second place department winner receives a $1,500 scholarship from the department. The third place department winner receives a $1,000 scholarship from the department.