Winners of VFW annual contests announced

Published 1:49 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Student and Teacher winners of 4th District Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) contests were recently announced by Commander Gus Villalobos. The 4th District includes the counties of Nottoway, Prince Edward, Mecklenburg, Buckingham, Amelia, Charlotte, Appomattox and Lunenburg. Winners will compete in the state competition.

The judging for the annual Voice of Democracy, Patriot’s Pen and Teacher of the Year contests were held Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Post 9954 in Victoria. Among the judges were State Del. Tommy Wright and several retired teachers.

Following are the first, second and third place winners in all categories:


The ‘Voice of Democracy’ program is a high school scholarship program in which area students between grades nine and 12 compete for awards of $5,000 or more to offset their future college costs. Last year more than 40,000 students competed. Students participate by submitting a written and recorded essay on a patriotic-themed topic to their local posts. This year’s topic was ‘Why My Vote Matters.’ Winners of Virginia’s 4th District VFW will be submitted for state competition. State winners will be submitted for National VFW consideration.

This year’s winners in the 4th District include: First Place – Benton P. McFadden from Dinwiddie H.S. – sponsored by Post 12145 (Dinwiddie); Second Place – Justice W. Roberts from Amelia county H.S. – sponsored by Post 8759(Amelia), and Third Place – Bailey J. Minter from Park View H.S. South Hill- sponsored by Post 7059 (Farmville)


The ‘Patriot’s Pen’ essay contest targets students in grades 6 through 8. The first-place winners from each state compete for awards totaling $55,000 with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. Over 132,000 students compete in this 300 to 400-word historical essay starting at the local Post level. This year’s theme was ‘Why I Honor the American Flag.’

Local District winners include: First Place – Dima H. Hamza from Prince Edward Middle School Farmville – sponsored by Post 7059 (Farmville); Second Place – Rachel Smith from Nottoway Middle School – sponsored by Post 5313 (Nottoway), and Third Place – Caitlynne Vaneisha Horton from Park View Middle School South Hill – sponsored by Post 7166 (South Hill).


The VFW’s ‘Teacher of the Year’ program recognizes exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. National winners may receive up to $1,000 for professional development expenses, $1,000 for the school and an all-expense-paid trip to attend the VFW National conference to receive their award.

This year’s winners include:


First Place – Betty Spiers from Dinwiddie H.S. – sponsored by Post 12145 (Dinwiddie) and Second Place – Marilyn Wilson from Nottoway H.S. – sponsored by Post 5313 (Nottoway).


First Place – Jessi Fleisher from Lunenburg County Middle School – sponsored by Post 9954 (Victoria); Second Place – Beverly Scott from Park View Middle School South Hill – sponsored by Post 7166 (South Hill) and Third Place – Carissa Setters from Dinwiddie Middle School – sponsored by Post 12145 (Dinwiddie).


First Place – Amanda Spencer from Dinwiddie Elementary School – sponsored by Post 12145 (Dinwiddie); Second Place – Charlene Baldwin Zhe from Victoria Elementary School – sponsored by Post 9954 (Victoria) and Third Place – Amber Britt from Kenbridge Elementary School – sponsored by Post 9954 (Victoria).

The District winners will receive recognitions at the 4th District VFW spring meeting on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m. at Post 8759 in Amelia.

For more information contact Gus Villalobos, Commander District 4 at (434) 480-2964.