Autumn Baker, a Delaware Valley High School senior, won the annual Voice of Democracy essay contest sponsored by Milford's Veterans of Foreign Wars Mountain Laurel Post 8612 .
Julian Connaughton, a junior at Delaware Valley, also entered the Post 8612 contest.
Autumn's essay was submitted to the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars District 20. She emerged the winner in the district, which includes Pike, Monroe, Carbon, and North Hampton counties. Autumn will represent the district in the Department of Pennsylvania’s contest. The national winner will receive a $30,000 scholarship.
"Congratulations for a job well done Autumn," said Gregory Protsko, Commander of Post 8612.
Autumn also received a recent all-expenses-paid weekend trip to historic Gettysburg. Autumn and all the other contestants were given a Friday night pizza party and then a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield on Saturday.
Autumn was one of 23 students chosen out of 3,700 essays from all over the state. The winners were given a dinner, where they were introduced to both the National Commander and the State Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The winner will go on to the National Contest to represent the state of Pennsylvania.
Last year's national winner was from Pennsylvania. Christine Troll, the 2019 national Voice of Democracy winner, was sponsored by VFW Post 554 and its Auxiliary in Somerset, Pa. Troll was also at the dinner, where she read her essay. She told all the students that only one could be selected to win first place, but they were already winners for just participating in the contest.
Any student who wants to participate in upcoming scholarship contest is encouraged to contact their local VFW Post, or call Protsko at 570-559-7354 for an application.
To read Autumn's essay, "What makes America great?," follow this link.
"Sometimes I get into arguments with people over differences in opinion, and sometimes I get into spats with my friends for the same reason. But although these do not happen often, I am, in a way, lucky that they do. I am lucky that I have the opportunity to have arguments because not all people are allowed to argue. America is great because we do not all have to have the same opinion. We do not all have to like the same public figures. We do not all have to follow the same policy, or like the same things at all." --Autumn Baker