Kasson-Mantorville students tell about their ‘Vision For America’
Two Kasson-Mantorville students were two of nearly 40,000 high school students in the country who entered the Voice of Democracy (VOD) contest in hopes of winning a share of the $2 million in educational scholarships.
Senior Jessica Marsland won the first place prize of $100 and sophomore Charles Miller took the second place prize of $75.
“It is really to promote Americanism and patriotism in the youth of America,” Rose Harris, Mantorville VFW auxiliary president, said of the program. “It gives them a platform to speak, reflect and think in a different way than they normally would.”
The VFW established the VOD program in 1947 to provide students grades nine-12 the opportunity to express themselves regarding democratic ideas and principles. The program is open to students who are enrolled in a public or private high school, as well as students who are home schooled.
Students have to write and record an essay that fits the year’s theme. Students can then advance to compete at the district, state and national levels.
Although the scholarship amounts vary at the local level, the first-place winner from each state wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to his or her choice of American university, college or vocational/technical school.
A winner is selected from the local level to go to the district level where another winner is selected to go to the state level and finally one winner is selected to advance to the national competition.
“They are judged on originality, content and delivery,” Harris said. “It is just fun to listen to this kids and what they think, how they feel and how they reflect.”
English teacher Lisa Goihl, VOD program advocate, got K-M involved in the program three years ago when she started teaching in the district. Before coming to K-M, Goihl was the program advocate at Rochester Lourdes High School for 18 years.