Central student wins VFW award

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Matthew Blair. Photo/Courtesy

MANCHESTER, N.H.  – The Veterans of Foreign Wars announced this month that a city high school student was among the top national finishers in the organization’s Voice of Democracy scholarship program. Matthew Blair, a junior at Central High School, was named the third place national winner and the recipient of the $10,000 VFW Scholarship award.

Blair, who was sponsored by the Queen City Memorial VFW Post, said he was honored by the recognition for his entry in the oratorical competition.

“I am so grateful to all the teachers and administrators who helped me along this journey,” Blair said. “This speech really was inspired by my grandfather, his story, and the love for America that he instilled in me.”

“I was so happy that I was able to honor him with this speech,” Blair added. “Also, though, I am so proud that I could represent Manchester Central High School, the city of Manchester, and the State of New Hampshire at this competition.”

Central Principal John Vaccarezza celebrated the news of Blair’s recognition.

“We cannot be prouder of Matthew Blair’s ability to articulate his feelings for the Voice of Democracy scholarship,” Vaccarezza said. “Matt epitomizes what a student can achieve through hard work and talent. Great job Matt, and Go Central Pride!”

Open to eligible high school students in grades 9 through 12, the VFW’s annual Voice of Democracy audio-essay program requires entrants to write and record a three- to five-minute script on a democratic, patriotic theme. This year more than 28,280 high school students from across the world reflected on the theme “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?” with 52 state finalists competing at the national level for their share of $154,000 in scholarships and awards.

More information is available on the VFW website.

About this Author


Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.