Since 2006, Veterans for Peace Chapter 25 has offered $500 scholarships to a growing number of graduating seniors in rural high schools in Southwestern Wisconsin. To apply for the scholarship, senior students are required to write a 500- to 700-word essay on the topic: “Why I Believe War Is Not the Answer.”
In each of the six rural schools where scholarships are offered, a member of Chapter 25 provides information to students about the cost of wars – both human and monetary – and alternatives to the military. Veterans for Peace counter-recruiting takes place during lunch hours in the school cafeterias, where military recruiters often visit. Guidance counselors in the high schools list the Veterans for Peace scholarships each year along with dozens of other community scholarships available to the students.
Since the scholarship program began nearly a decade ago, the number of participating rural schools has grown, as has the number of students entering the essay contest. In some cases, 15 percent or more of a high school senior class has written an essay on the peace topic.
In addition to the scholarships in six rural Southwestern Wisconsin schools, Chapter 25 also offers a scholarship for students attending a high school in the City of Madison. (See this page).
This year, schools outside the City of Madison participating in the essay contest include: Baraboo, Boscobel, Dodgeville, Richland Center, Riverdale (Muscoda), and River Valley (Spring Green).
Essays are judged by the VFP scholarship committee, and awarded at honors ceremonies conducted annually at each high school and attended by hundreds of parents, family members, and friends. When awarding the scholarships, a Veterans for Peace representative briefly describes the peaceful mission of our organization to the crowd.
The scholarships are funded solely with donations to Veterans for Peace Chapter 25. While the scholarship/essay program includes only a fraction of the 425 school districts in Wisconsin, it represents an important effort to educate students and citizens about the unbearable costs of war.
After the scholarships are awarded, some of the essays will be made available on this website: madisonvfp.org.