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Malik J. Fountain, 15, a Southland College Prep Charter High School sophomore, is the first-place winner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 16th District's annual Voice of Democracy competition.
Earlier, he won the Benjamin O. Davis VFW Post 311 and Auxiliary's competition. According to Bill Browne, Post Commander, Fountain is the first winner from Post 311 in Richton Park to advance to the VFW Voice of Democracy state competition, which will be held in Springfield in early February. State winners advance to a national competition whose prize is a $30,000 college scholarship.
"We are ecstatic that we have this young man representing our post," Browne said. "We look forward to him representing our post as well as the district."
A resident of Olympia Fields, Illinois, Fountain was one of seven finalists from posts across the south suburbs to submit a written essay and audio version in the Veterans of Foreign Wars 16th District competition on the theme of this year's Voice of Democracy, "American History: Our Hope for the Future." Contestants are judged on originality in addressing the central theme in an imaginative treatment; content and the ability to fully develop the theme and transition from one idea to another and delivery in the audio version of the essay.
Fountain holds a black belt in tae kwon do and is a Southland College Prep honor roll student in the process of being inducted into the public charter high school's National Honor Society.
A member of the National Society of Black Engineers, Jr., this past summer, Fountain was selected to participate in the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) Discover Engineering Camp at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A musician, who plays alto saxophone, Fountain played for the second year in the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Jazz Academy. In August, he performed in Chicago's Millennium Park with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Youth Ensemble. Fountain and two of his friends have formed a musical group and entertain at local nursing homes in honor of his late grandmother, Gwendolyn Clincy.
Fountain is a member of Southland College Prep's concert and marching bands, track and cross-country teams, the same sports and activities he participated in during eighth grade at the Illinois School, Park Forest."It's most inspiring to see how this young man, a product of Matteson District 162 and now Southland College Prep, is maturing as a scholar-athlete. His success in the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual competition illuminates yet another dimension of his development and we wish him well as he represents the Benjamin O. Davis VFW Post 311 in the state competition," said Dr. Blondean Davis, Southland College Prep's CEO.