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PACS Senior Named Finalist for VFW’s ‘Voice of Democracy’ National Scholarship Competition

Madison Wilder, a Pulaski Academy & Central School District senior, will compete against other high school students Thursday, April 1, as New York State’s finalist in the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ “Voice of Democracy” national scholarship competition.


Wilder’s winning essay was composed in response to the contest’s 2020-21 theme entitled “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?” The senior, who began working on her entry in October, had no trouble finding an answer.


“I essentially wrote ‘no,’ and the reason I gave was one with which every American can agree and that is we are incredibly divided,” she said. “Our founding fathers knew we could be divided at times, but I don’t think they realized to the extent we are now.”


The national first-place contest winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college, or vocational or technical school. A complete list of other national VFW scholarships ranges from $1,000 to $16,000, and the first-place winner from each VFW’s state-level department wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000. 


Wilder plans to study music at Onondaga Community College following graduation and is conserving transferring later to a four-year university focused on music. The clarinetist is a member of PACS’ school bands and hopes to perform professionally with an orchestra.