The VFW 8243 turned 74 years old this week.

As part of their ongoing support of children, community and honoring their past members, the organization is announcing the Patriot Pen Essay and Voice of Democracy Audio contests.

Thousands of student throughout the U.S. compete for a National Prize of $5,000 (Patriot Pen) and $30,000 (Voice of Democracy).

Contestants will be judged on a local, state and national level. Each level has its own set of prizes, but the grand prize is one that they all hope for.

The Voice of Democracy and Patriot Pen has produced some famous people who have gone on to be reporters.

Forms may be picked up at VFW Bingo at 6 p.m. Monday nights at the South Boston Fire Support building.