Veterans Organizations Provide Pocatello-Chubbuck Youth With Tremendous Learning/Scholarship Opportunities

by: John Crowder, Editor and Publisher of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer

John Crowder, Publisher, Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer

Over the last two weeks I’ve had the chance to watch as Pocatello homeschool student Evelyn Lopez won the American Legion Oratorical Competition at both the local level in Pocatello, and at the district level in Blackfoot. Evelyn, a sophomore at Freedom Scholars for America, now advances to the area level competition. If she continues to win, she will move on to the state and national levels of the competition, as she vies for a chance at tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship prize money.

The American Legion isn’t the only veterans organization in Pocatello sponsoring speech and essay competitions, though. In November, I attended the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Pocatello Post 735 awards banquet, at which local students were presented with certificates and cash prizes for their winning entries in the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen contests.

The American Legion and the VFW sponsor these competitions annually, but sadly, few students take advantage of them. Typically, less than a dozen local students enter the competitions, which consist of delivering speeches or writing essays focusing on Americanism.

It’s my hope that many more students will participate in these, and other such competitions in the future. The rewards go far beyond the scholarship money; they teach our youth about our U.S. Constitution, about American history, about the brave men and women who fought to obtain the freedoms that we enjoy, and they help to develop pride in our great country.

While the contest deadlines for the American Legion, VFW, and Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) speech and essay competitions have now come and gone for the 2019-2020 school year, there is still one more chance to participate in a veteran-sponsored contest focused on Americanism. The AMVETS Americanism Program is a patriotic program offered to schools and youth organizations as a resource for teaching children in kindergarten through 12th grade about their American heritage, civics, and citizenship. The program includes flag drawing, poster, and essay contests that are grade specific and age appropriate. AMVETS representatives will soon be providing contest materials to local schools and youth organizations.

I urge local students to take advantage of these learning opportunities provided by our local veterans groups. Likewise, I urge parents, teachers, and all who work with our local youth to learn more about the competitions sponsored by our local veterans organizations, and to encourage youth participation. These competitions are some of the best ways we have to help our young people develop critical writing and speaking skills, while developing an appreciation for the great country in which we live, the freedoms we enjoy, and those who fought to give us our American way of life.


The Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer is a proud sponsor of our veterans and our serving military personnel. We would be happy to help you obtain further information about these contests. We can be contacted at:, or by phone/text at 925-628-4033.

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