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WYA cadets sweep VFW Voice of Democracy contest


Cadets Wegzyn, Dean and Hart swept the Voice of Democracy contest at the local level.

WYA cadets sweep VFW Voice of Democracy contest in Bremerton

BREMERTON -- Cadets from the Washington Youth Academy swept all three award entries during the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy speech writing contest at the local level (VFW Post 239). Cadet Mateo Wegzyn took the top prize and will go on to compete at the district level. Cadet Remington Dean took second and cadet Dylan Hart took third.

"A special 'thanks' to Tod Hall, English faculty, for his involvement in helping the cadets prepare for the competition and his guidance in helping them be successful in the Voice Of Democracy competition," said Larry Pierce, the director of the Washington Youth Academy. "Our cadets routinely place in one or two the top three prizes, however, this is the first time we’ve swept the competition!"

First prize is $100 as well as moving on to competing at the district level. Second prize is $75. Third prize is $50.

The VFW had an awards dinner and ceremony at VFW Post 239 in Bremerton on Saturday, Nov. 21.

Hall said that all of the cadets who entered the contest attended the ceremony in order to continue to support each other. Those cadets were Benner, Bennett, Harmon, Jones, Le and Oliver.

"Each saw themselves as critical friends rather than competitors," Hall said. "They supported each other’s growth as they worked and reworked their speeches."

The VFW established the Voice of Democracy program in 1947 to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideas and principles. The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each (state) VFW Department wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

UPDATE: Cadet Mateo Wegzyn, a student at Decatur High School in Federal Way, took top prize at districts and becomes the first cadet to move on to the state competition. Confrats Cadet Wegzyn!