Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars held its annual Voice of Democracy Banquet

Cory P. Angell - 1/25/2022

LANCASTER, PA – Saturday, Jan. 22, the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars held its annual Voice of Democracy banquet at the Wyndham Resort & Convention Center where the winners for the statewide competition were announced:

1st Place Winner for $5,000 Sydney R. Christner, New Oxford High School (junior), New Oxford, Pa. submitted by Post 8896, PA VFW District 21

2nd Place Winner for $4,000 Kaylie Horst, Ephrata High School (sophomore), Ephrata, Pa. submitted by Post 3376, PA VFW District 9

3rd Place Winner for $3,000 Luke Smarra, Montour High School (senior), McKees Rocks, Pa. sponsored by Post 418, PA VFW District 29

4th Place Winner for $2,500 Lucy A Loftus, Valley View High School (junior), Peckville, Pa. sponsored by Post 7251, PA VFW District 10

5th Place Winner for $2,000 Sarenity Burkit, Northampton Area High School, Bath, Pa. sponsored by Post 4714, PA VFW District 20

Established in 1947, the Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the opportunity to compete with a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. This year’s theme: "America: Where do we go from here?”

The Pennsylvania VFW had 150 posts and 91 auxiliaries participating and 2,196 student entries. Between the post, district, and state levels the Pennsylvania VFW has given out $111,880 in scholarships and awards this year.

Each participant at the state level received a jacket with their name, a medallion, plaque, backpack and a $1,000 check.

The VOD Teacher of the Year is, Mr. Marc S. Anderson, Northern York High School, Dillsburg, Pa. sponsored by Post 6704, PA VFW District 18. Anderson had the distinction of being submitted by a student for the award. He teaches history to 10th – 12th grades.

The Patriots Penn Winner is Ella McFillin, Hatfield, Pa. submitted by Post 3258, PA VFW District 8. The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300 to 400 word essay.

Anyone interested in participating in next year’s event should reach out to their local VFW for information. You may also visit www.vfwpa.org

 
 
 
1st Place Winner for $5,000 Sydney R. Christner, New Oxford High School (junior), New Oxford, Pa. submitted by Post 8896, PA VFW District 21, takes the stage as the 2022 Pennsylvania VFW Voice of Democracy Winner. (Photo by Cory Angell, PA VFW)
 
 
2nd Place Winner for $4,000 Kaylie Horst, Ephrata High School (sophomore), Ephrata, Pa. submitted by Post 3376, PA VFW District 9. Left to right Auxiliary National Council Member Area A Kathy Jo Reinsmith, former VFW Commander-in-Chief (1997-98) John E. Moon, Horst, Pennsylvania VFW Commander Nathaniel Smith and Pennsylvania VFW Auxiliary President Pamela Sopher. (Photo by Cory Angell, PA VFW)
 
 
3rd Place Winner for $3,000 Luke Smarra, Montour High School (senior), McKees Rocks, Pa. sponsored by Post 418, PA VFW District 29. Left to right Auxiliary National Council Member Area A Kathy Jo Reinsmith, former VFW Commander-in-Chief (1997-98) John E. Moon, Smarra, Pennsylvania VFW Commander Nathaniel Smith and Pennsylvania VFW Auxiliary President Pamela Sopher. (Photo by Cory Angell, PA VFW)

 
4th Place Winner for $2,500 Lucy A. Loftus, Valley View High School (junior), Peckville, Pa. sponsored by Post 7251, PA VFW District 10. Left to right Auxiliary National Council Member Area A Kathy Jo Reinsmith, former VFW Commander-in-Chief (1997-98) John E. Moon, Loftus, Pennsylvania VFW Commander Nathaniel Smith and Pennsylvania VFW Auxiliary President Pamela Sopher. (Photo by Cory Angell, PA VFW)
 
 
5th Place Winner for $2,000 Sarenity Burkit, Northampton Area High School, Bath, Pa. sponsored by Post 4714, PA VFW District 20. Left to right Auxiliary National Council Member Area A Kathy Jo Reinsmith, former VFW Commander-in-Chief (1997-98) John E. Moon, Burkit, Pennsylvania VFW Commander Nathaniel Smith and Pennsylvania VFW Auxiliary President Pamela Sopher. (Photo by Cory Angell, PA VFW)
 
 
The Patriots Penn Winner is Ella McFillin, Hatfield, Pa. submitted by Post 3258, PA VFW District 8. The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300 to 400 word essay. Left to right: Former VFW Commander-in-Chief (1997-98) John E. Moon, McFillin, Pennsylvania VFW Commander Nathaniel Smith and Pennsylvania VFW Auxiliary President Pamela Sopher and Auxiliary National Council Member Area A Kathy Jo Reinsmith. (Photo by Cory Angell, PA VFW)
 
 
The VOD Teacher of the Year is, Mr. Marc S. Anderson, Northern York High School, Dillsburg, Pa. sponsored by Post 6704, PA VFW District 18. Anderson had the distinction of being submitted by a student for the award. He teaches history to 10th – 12th grades. Left to right Auxiliary National Council Member Area A Kathy Jo Reinsmith, former VFW Commander-in-Chief (1997-98) John E. Moon, Mr. Anderson, Pennsylvania VFW Commander Nathaniel Smith and Pennsylvania VFW Auxiliary President Pamela Sopher. (Photo by Cory Angell, PA VFW)