Pilot Mountain VFW Post 9436 and the VFW Auxiliary announced the winning entry last week in their annual “Voice of Democracy” student essay contest.
VFW Post 9436 Commander Van Cooke and Auxiliary President Margie Nichols had recognized 17-year-old Shaylah Penn during their November meeting for her essay entitled “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned.”
Penn was awarded a certificate of appreciation and an accompanying monetary gift from each group. Her essay will go to district level competition for judging against other top entries from throughout the district. If the entry advances, Penn will go on to compete at state and then national levels.
According to VFW Auxiliary President Margie Nichols, each year’s contest sees nearly 57,000 high school students competing for their share of more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives.
All state first-place winners receive a four-day trip to Washington, D.C., and the chance to compete for their share of more than $150,000 in scholarships. The contestant finishing in first place will receive a $30,000 college scholarship.
Shaylah Penn is the daughter of Jacqueline Greely-Dubose and has an older sister and brother. Her grandmother is Dorothy Greely of Winston-Salem.
A senior at Calvary Christian School, Shaylah enjoys cooking, volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, soccer, drama and singing. She plans to attend Pensacola Christian College in Florida where she plans to major in Biology and minor in Political Science.
“Shaylah had a wonderful essay and we hope she is able to go far with it,” Nichols said. “She is a very talented and a very impressive young lady and we wish her the best in this contest and in her future.”
The annual Voice of Democracy Essay Contest is open to all area students in the 9th-12th grades.