Liam McCarthy of Foristell, and Alyssa Schneider of New Melle were recently honored as scholarship essay winners by the Thiemann-Tidd Memorial VFW Post 5651 in New Melle.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. sponsors two scholarship essay contests each year: The Voice of Democracy for grades 9-12, and the Patriot’s Pen for grades 6-8. Dedicated to encouraging a better understanding and appreciation of America, these essay competitions help foster patriotism among today’s youth. This year’s theme for both programs challenged students to answer the question, “What Makes America Great?”
McCarthy, recipient of the Voice of Democracy Award, talked about giving veterans the respect they deserve. “I’m afraid if veterans do not get the respect they deserve then men and women may stop joining the military to fight for our country. If this happens, then all the freedoms we know could disappear. Our country is great because we have both veterans and freedom.”
Schneider said there are many reasons why America is great, but highlighted these: the opportunity to be whoever you want to be; diversity and the understanding that regardless of sex or ethnicity, there are many opportunities for work and leisure activities; and lastly, our freedom — the right to ask, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance of restraint.
Both McCarthy and Schneider are students at Liberty Christian Academy in Wright City. They each received a $100 check from the VFW Post, and another $100 check from the New Melle VFW Post Auxiliary. Both students are also now eligible to participate in the state and national essay competitions.For The Voice of Democracy, one winner from each state receives a minimum scholarship of $1,000 plus an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where the top national prize of a $30,000 scholarship is awarded. The Patriot’s Pen essay competition also offers an opportunity to compete at state and national levels, with a top award of $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.