Smithson Valley Student Receives $4,000 Scholarship in VFW Voice of Democracy Contest

Feb. 7, 2023 - A Smithson Valley High School student’s entry in this year’s Voice of Democracy contest was among the top 10 in the state of Texas and earned the 11th-grader a $4,000 scholarship.

“I am very proud,” says Jeffrey Jarman who attended the Annual Mid-Winter Awards Banquet on Jan. 21 in Corpus Christi to accept the honor.

This year, more than 2,300 high school students from around Texas entered the annual audio-essay contest which is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), with the theme, “Why is the Veteran Important?”

In his original three-to-five-minute audio essay that he submitted in October, Jarman spoke about how veterans’ matter “for the morale of the country, the morale of the people” and for being great role models.

“Without them, we may not get to live in this wonderful country, the United States of America that we live in right now. I don’t ever want to take for granted the sacrifices that they have so freely given for me and our country. We owe our veterans so much. It might not ever be enough, but I still want to say to every veteran out there, one more time. We thank you.”

The VFW started the Voice of Democracy program in 1947 to provide high school students with the opportunity to earn college scholarships by submitting an original audio-essay based on a patriotic and democratic theme.

For the past 18 years, SVHS students like Jarman who are enrolled in Gloria Wolfshohl’s oral interpretation classes enter the contest with their original essays in order to practice the skills she teaches in class.

“I really enjoy public speaking,” says Jarman, who is involved in competitive UIL speaking events, is a section leader in the SVHS band, is a member of the National Honor Society and is the ‘Voice of the Ranger Nation’ as the campus speech announcer.

The Startz Memorial VFW Post 8800 has been sponsoring the Voice of Democracy along with a contest for middle school students known as Patriot’s Pen for local schools for almost two decades, honoring students and teachers with cash prizes, awards and certificates.

The VFW Post 8800 serves five counties including Comal, Hays, Guadalupe, Gonzales and Caldwell representing three high schools and numerous middle schools including many within Comal ISD.


-The audio-essay submitted by Smithson Valley High School student Jeffrey Jarman was among the top 10 entries in the state of Texas.

-Smithson Valley High School student Jeffrey Jarman was honored at the VFW awards ceremony in Corpus Christi on Jan. 21.



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