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Bonners Ferry High School Voice of Democracy winners Christa Holley, Ember Rose Allred and Evelynn Chaney with Boundary County VFW Post 3622 Commander Tom Reaper Chaney.

Each year, nearly 38,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW's Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition.

At Bonners Ferry High School, Christa Holley submitted the first place entry, Ember Rose Allred, earned second place and Evelynn Chaney took third with audio essays on the theme, "What Makes America Great."

Established in 1947, the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $1.9 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school.

In addition, over 111,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest each year for a chance to win their share of more than $900,000 in state and national awards.

Each first-place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Representing Boundary County in this year's state competition is Asha Abubakari. Ana Chase took second place and Sydney Beckle third. All three attend Boundary County Middle School.

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Boundary County Middle School Patriot's Pen winners were (l-r) Ana Chase, Sydney Beckle and Asha Abubakari.

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