2019-2020 District Awards Ceremony

vfwdist10.org - 3/4/2020

Dale City, VA – District 10 held its annual awards ceremony on 1 March 2020 for the Teacher of the Year, Patriot’s Pen, and Voice of Democracy Programs. 


Each year more than 138,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $900,000 in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.  The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300-to400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.


Established in 1947, our Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay.  Each year, more than 51,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $1.9 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program.  The 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 VFW Department (state) wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.


The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students.  Each year, a certified/licensed elementary, junior high, and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award.  Winners receive a $1,000 award for professional development expenses, a $1,000 award for his/her school, two award plaques (one for the teacher, the other for their school), and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award.


This year’s District 10 Award Winners are listed below.


Voice of Democracy

1st Place, Leah Kane, Alexandria, VA, 12th Grade, Yorktown High School, Post 3150

2nd Place, Scott Buermeyer, Ashburn, VA, 12th,Grade, Rock Ridge High School, Ashburn, VA, Post 1177

3rd Place, Alisha Anand, Leesburg, VA, 11th Grade, Paul IV Catholic High School, Post 8469



Patriot’s Pen

1st Place, Valerie Castillo, 8th Grade, St. Ann Catholic School, Arlington, VA, Post 3150

2nd Place, Manas Puri, 6th Grade, Keene Mill Elementary, Springfield, VA, Post 7327

3rd Place, Roman Dembicki, 6th Grade, Olde Creek Elementary, Fairfax, VA, Post 8469



Teacher of the Year


1st Place, Marie Lankford, Post 8469

2nd Place, Susan Waring, Post 7916

3rd Place, Mary Saulsgier, Post 8241



1st Place, Jennifer Conner-Harris, Post 7916 (1st Place at Department)

2nd Place, Catherine Rodriguez, Post 8469

3rd Place, Raegan Ray, Post 1503



1st Place, Jerome Hruska, Post 7916

2nd Place Jennifer Boyko, Post 1503


For information about participating in any of these three programs in the 2020-2021 school year, check out the Programs section of the Virginia District 10 website at vfwvadist10.org later in the year.


Additional awards were presented to several posts from the Department Commander Rick Raskin for meeting membership goals.
Click for additional photos from the event.