Elizabeth Meshkin, a junior at San Juan Hills High School in San Juan Capistrano, was named the first-place winner of the California statewide Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California, according to a Jan. 23 news release. Meshkin will continue on to compete at the national level for the $30,000 T. C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award.

Meshkin, a Ladera Ranch resident, is a competitive swimmer and hopes to pursue a career in the medical field, the news release stated. Meshkin’s mom and dad both reportedly participated in the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program when they were in high school.

The Voice of Democracy program requires the entrants to write and record a three- to five- minute speech on a patriotic theme. This year’s theme: “What Makes America Great.” More than 900 students from all over California entered the program.

“The Voice of Democracy program provides high school students across the country with the opportunity to think, write and speak out on freedom and democracy,” VFWCA State Commander Michael Kuznik said in the release. “The program has been popular and successful since its beginning in 1946. We are proud to announce the state winner and send them on to the national level to compete alongside winners from all over the country.”

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