VFW Essay contest: Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans

VFWEach year more than 100,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The first-place winner from each state competes to win one of 46 national awards totaling $46,000. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.

Alexis Canen, an 8th-grade student sponsored by VFW Post 1125 and Ladies Auxiliary in Glendive, MT, was named the 2013-2014 Patriot’s Pen 1st-place winner. Her essay on the 2013-2014 theme, “What Patriotism Means to Me,” won her a $5,000 award.

Read the winning essay

Watch Alexis deliver her winning essay


The Patriot’s Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8.

The submission deadline is November 1, 2014.  Pick up an essay application at Manchester District Library.

Students may ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition. Questions can be directed to Chuck Reed VFW Post 4076 member, at 764-730-3767.

Essays should be submitted to the Post or through Manchester District Library, along with the completed Patriot’s Pen entry form no later than the November 1 deadline.

Knowledge of the theme, Why I Appreciate America’s Verterans, is worth 30 points. You must show a thorough knowledge of the theme in your work. Demonstrate you have researched the issue extensively.

Theme development is worth 35 points. Answer all relevant facts about the theme such as the who, what, where, when and why. Relate the theme to your own experiences.

Clarity of ideas is worth 35 points. Write your essay in an easy-to-understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of your explanation of the theme.

Good luck!

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