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Madras VFW recognizes Arianna Reyes and Evan Powell for their patriotic audio essays

 - Two Culver High School students won the Madras VFW Voice of Democracy contest. Pictured left to right, Madras VFW Post 12141 Chairman Richard Lohman, Evan Powell, Arianna Reyes and Post Commander Leonard Hellwig.

Two Culver High School students recently won the VFW Voice of Democracy audio-essay contest.

Senior Arianna Reyes earned a $500 scholarship from the Madras Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12141 for her first-place entry. Junior Evan Powell received a $200 scholarship.

The students were honored with checks and certificates during a presentation at Culver High School on Dec. 10.

Established in 1947, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the opportunity to express themselves in a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay.

Students were asked to prepare an original essay on this year's theme, "Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?" Students then submitted a three-to-five-minute audio recording of their essay.

"The recording is judged. The judges do not have the paper in front of them, so they have to present and be clear in their audio presentation – no visual, no extra fancy stuff, just a voice recording," explained Madras VFW Post 12141 Chairman Richard Lohman.

He said the Madras VFW received several quality entries.

"'Is This the Country Our Founders Envisioned?' was the topic," Lohman said. "There was at least one that said, 'Heck no.' Others said, 'Yes, but ...' It was an interesting topic.

The competition was dedicated to encouraging a better understanding and appreciation of the United States and fostering patriotism among the nations' youth.

"It took a motivated student to participate this year because of the circumstances in school," Lohman said.

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