John Hinderaker at Powerline wrote yesterday about the effects of 5 years of Hope and Change™ on America; only 31% of Americans think America's best days are still to come, according to a Pew poll.
So it makes for an interesting backdrop to this year's Veterans of Foreign Wars' Voice of Democracy contest, whose theme is 'Why I'm Optimistic About Our Nation's Future'. Open to all US students in grades 9-12, whether in public, private or home school. Entrants write and then record a 3-5 minute audio essay on the subject. America's high school students have come of age in the era of the War on Terrorism, increasingly bitter political elections and a prolonged recession. What they see as reasons for hope in America's future may prove to be a tonic for those who are losing their faith in the dream of a good life.
In addition to generating critical thinking by high school students, the Voice of Democracy program teaches entrants public speaking skills (winners usually deliver their essays at VFW meetings, Veterans Day and Memorial Day events, ect) and rewards these skills with cash and college scholarships; the top prize is a $30,000 scholarship and a trip to DC to claim it. Kids can enter their essay at most any VFW post around the country, but the deadline for submissions is coming fast- November 1st.
Danielle Hayes, a sophomore at Mercy High School, was named the 2013 Voice of Democracy 1st-place winner.