LHS Senior, Matt Lussier, VFW Voice of Democracy Contest 1st Place Winner
Posted On:
Friday, November 17, 2017
Matt Lussier reading his essay.
Matt Lussier reading his essay.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay contest has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program since 1947. High school students, grades 9-12 compete by writing an essay and then recording an audio version for submission for consideration. The 2017-18 theme is: “American History: Our Hope for the Future.”  

The top four essays were recognized during the annual Veterans Day Celebration held at The Exit 7 Players, on November 10th.   Each student was given a Voice of Democracy certificate and a monetary award from the VFW.  

This year, LHS senior, Matt Lussier, received 1st prize for his essay. In addition, Sara Koprek placed 2nd , Hailey Dowling placed 3rd and Jenna Thompson placed 4th.

Ludlow’s Director of Veterans Affairs, Eric Segundo, explained, “Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition.  The good will of the Veterans of Foreign Wars reaches far beyond the realm of veterans helping veterans. In fact, direct involvement with America’s youth and communities has always been — and always will be — a VFW priority.”  To learn more about this program click here.

 Martin Fanning, LHS Social Studies teacher and Voice of Democracy Coordinator, explains that participating LHS students must compose an essay explaining the identified patriotic theme announced by the VFW.  The submission must also include  a 3-5 minute recording of the essay; Michael Hill from the LCTV assists students with this requirement.

When speaking of his 1st place finish Lussier commented, “It was a great honor to win the Voice of Democracy award.  Coming from a family in which my grandfather and some of my uncles served in the military, it was amazing to be able to write an essay that attempts to capture the essence of the valiant service our veterans have given to our nation while also looking towards the future. I am quite excited to be moving forward in the competition as well.”

Lussier is involved in many school activities including National Honor Society, Student Council, is the student representative at the School Committee and a member of the LHS varsity soccer program.

Lussier’s involvement with community activities includes being a member of the Western Massachusetts District Attorney Youth Advisory Board, St. Elizabeth Parish Council, and the Ludlow CARES Coalition.  

"Matt is just a super kid; very humble despite all his accomplishments,” shared Fanning.  “He is very easy going and easy to talk to and is well-respected by faculty and students alike. He is certainly very good with time management with all he has going on. I will miss Matt when he graduates in the spring, He was great to have in Advanced Placement United States History last year, and I this year, I have enjoyed discussing all the issues, both local and national, with Matt."

Segundo explained that Lussier’s 1st place finish will advance him to compete in the  district level against other students from Hampden county schools.  The 1st place winner from this competition will move forward to the state competition.

Below is a video of Matt Lussier reading his winning essay at the ceremony. Thanks to Tina Gilbert, BMS English Teacher, for sharing the video.

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