Placing in the essay contest were, from left, Austin Garrett, David Bruhl and Alex Gohr.

Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars facilitates an essay contest called the Voice of Democracy that allows high school students to express themselves in regard to a patriotic-themed recorded essay. The VFW started this program in 1947 and awards scholarships on a local, state and national level. This year’s theme was “What Makes America Great ” in which a high school student from Nebraska won at the national level and was awarded a $30,000 scholarship.

At the local level, we are excited to announce three of Heritage Oak’s students were recognized and awarded for the top Tehachapi scholarships. David Bruhl took first place and received a $300 scholarship, Alex Gohr received second place and received a $200 scholarship; and Austin Garrett took third place and received a $100 scholarship.

At Heritage Oak, we strive to teach our students to appreciate our country, respect the government and authority and cultivate patriotism in their hearts. These gentlemen have demonstrated just this in their essay submissions and we couldn’t be more proud.

Amy Applegate is the marketing director of Heritage Oak School.