Sweet Water sophomore wins trip to D.C.

Joel Averitt - Alabama - for VFW - 2015Sweet Water High School sophomore Joel Averitt, the son of John and Joy Averitt of Vineland, was recently selected as the VFW Department of Alabama, Voice of Democracy audio-essay winner from Alabama. His speech on the 2014-15 theme, “Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History,” won him $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. While in Washington, D.C., Averitt’s winning essay will be entered to compete with essays submitted by a student representative from each state, and has the possibility of winning a college scholarship totaling up to $30,000.

During his Washington, D.C. trip, Averitt will be visiting such historic places as the Smithsonian, the Pentagon, John F. Kennedy Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, and the Capitol. He is representing the VFW Department of Alabama and its Ladies Auxiliary.

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 VFW established the Voice of Democracy program (VOD) in 1947 to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideas and principles. As an 8th grader, Averitt was selected as 2nd winner in the VFW Patriot Pen essay competition for VFW Post 5106 Thomasville. While in the 9th grade, he was selected as 1st place Voice of Democracy essay winner for VFW Post 5106 Thomasville, and was selected as 3rd place winner in VFW District 6.

Averitt, a sophomore at Sweet Water High School, is also a member of the Senior Beta Club, Mass Media staff, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the National Honor Society. He also has played on the basketball team for the past four years. He also enjoys serving as an Assistant Piano Accompanist at Friendship Baptist Church.