Back row, left to right are Elizabeth Jordan, Jerry Youngblood, Cassidy Montgomery, Allison Montgomery, Jordan Jamis, Ashley Jones, Joanne Fuchs, Jenn Hoyt and Regina Bryant. Front row: Adeline Cook and Tate Wegleitner.

January 21, 2023

On Saturday, January 14, 2023 the Veterans of Foreign Wars District 5 of Department of Missouri and its Auxiliary proudly presented $900 in awards as it named the district winners of its 2023 Voice of Democracy, Patriot’s Pen and Teacher of the Year competitions.

The event was held at VFW Jack Ray Post 5789 in Lee’s Summit, MO. In attendance was State Commander Royce Kelb, District 5 Commander Jerry Youngblood, District 5 Senior Vice Commander Elizabeth Jordan, State Auxiliary President Judy Northcutt, District 5 Auxiliary President Regina Bryant, and Auxiliary Senior Vice President Jenn Hoyt.

The VFW District 5, Department of Missouri and its Auxiliary was pleased to announce this year’s district Voice of Democracy winner, Cassidy Montgomery, and award her a prize of $150. Montgomery is a senior at Lee’s Summit North High School.

The Voice of Democracy is a worldwide audio-essay competition that requires entrants in grades 9-12 to write and record a three-to-five-minute essay on a patriotic-based theme. “Why is the Veteran Important?” was this year’s theme.

Second place winner Jordan Jamis, a sophomore at Fort Osage High School, was awarded $100, while Emma Miller-Fox, a senior at Summit Christian Academy, Lee’s Summit, was named third place winner and awarded $50.

Also featured was the 2023 Patriot’s Pen first place winner, Allison Montgomery. An 8th grade student at Bernard Campbell Middle School, Lee’s Summit, Allison was awarded $150.

The Patriot’s Pen is a worldwide contest that gives students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to write a 300- to 400-word theme-based essay expressing their views on democracy. “My Pledge to Our Veterans” was this year’s theme.

The Patriot’s Pen second place winner, Adeline Cook, a 7th grade student at Bernard Campbell Middle School, received a $100 award while third place winner Tate Wegleitner, a 6th grade student at Summit Lakes Middle School, Lee’s Summit, received a $50 award.

The VFW not only recognizes students but also teachers through the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award contest. Teachers are selected for their exceptional commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism by promoting civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism in the classroom.

Jenn Hoyt, a Kindergarten teacher at Ervin Elementary School of the Hickman Mills School District in Kansas City, was named the elementary school Teacher of the Year.

Selected to represent the middle school level is Joanne Fuchs, a teacher at Pleasant Lea Middle School of the Lee’s Summit School District.

Ashley Jones teaches Biology I, Advanced Studies Biology, and AVID at Lee’s Summit West High School, was chosen to represent the High School level.

All first place winners and each teacher will advance to compete at the VFW Department of Missouri level.