VFW: Essay contests offered for middle, high school students
Submitted by Patty Locher
Sabetha VFW Post 7285
Veterans of Foreign Wars annually offers two youth essay contests. For middle school students, Patriot’s Pen is offered. For high school students, Voice of Democracy is offered.
The Patriot’s Pen essay contest is for middle school students, who with a well-written, well-thought out essay can win monetary awards as they polish their research, analytical and writing skills.
“How Can I Be a Good American?” is this year’s theme.
Submissions must strictly adhere to the rules stated in the entry form. Judging criteria are listed on the contest entry form.
Current entry forms with specific instructions can be downloaded from the website at www.vfw.org; click on “Community,” then “Youth and Education,” then “Youth Scholarships.”
The top three place winners at the Sabetha Memorial Post 7285 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars level will receive monetary awards and certificates of recognition, and the first-place winner’s essay will be forwarded to district level for continued competition.
For more information about the Patriot’s Pen essay contest, email Patty Locher, Sabetha VFW Post 7285 Youth Programs Chairperson, at [email protected]
Send entry submissions to Patty Locher, Sabetha VFW Memorial Post 7285 Youth Programs Chairperson, 3373 Antelope Road, Sabetha, KS 66534, to arrive no later than Oct. 31. Any received after Oct. 31 will not be eligible.
With the deactivations several years ago of the Hiawatha and Horton VFW posts, Brown County students are encouraged to submit their entries to Sabetha Memorial Post 7285.
How Can I Be a Good American?
The Patriot’s Pen essay competition gives middle school students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on our nation’s foundation with the prospect of winning scholarship monies.
VFW National prizes totaling $54,500 will include a first-place prize of $5,000, plus an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the winner and a parent or guardian.
The Department of Kansas (state-level) program will give monetary awards in the amounts of $250, $150 and $75 for first-, second- and third-place winners, respectively. Monetary awards also are awarded at District level.
In the 2020 contest, Sabetha Middle School student Abigail Whittaker placed at Post 7285, then earned first place at both district and state levels, and placed second in the National contest, earning her a total of several thousand dollars in scholarships.
All sixth- through eighth-grade students in public, parochial, private or home schools can enter. Foreign exchange students and winners who have placed in the National finals are excluded.
Students must write an essay of 300-400 words and submit the typed essay to the local VFW Post Chairperson, Patty Locher, by Oct. 31.
Voice of Democracy
The Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition is for high school students, with a new patriotic theme each year.
This year’s theme is “America: Where do we go from here?” Entries are due to Sabetha Memorial Post 7285 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars no later than Oct. 31.
Submissions must strictly adhere to the rules stated in the entry form, including recording instructions. Instructions and judging criteria are listed on the current entry form, which can be downloaded from the website at www.vfw.org; click on “Community,” then “Youth and Education,” then “Youth Programs.”
The top three place winners at Sabetha Memorial Post 7285 will receive monetary awards and a certificate of recognition, and the first-place winner’s essay will be forwarded to district level.
For more information about this annual contest, email Patty Locher, Sabetha VFW Post 7285 Youth Programs Chairperson, at [email protected]
Send entry submissions to Locher, Sabetha VFW Memorial Post 7285 Youth Programs Chairperson, 3373 Antelope Road, Sabetha, KS 66534, to arrive no later than Oct. 31. Submissions received after Oct. 31 will not be eligible.
With the deactivations several years ago of the Hiawatha and Horton VFW posts, with no active VFW post in Brown County, Brown County students interested in entering the Voice of Democracy audio-essay contest are encouraged to submit their entries to Sabetha VFW Memorial Post 7285.
America: Where Do We Go From Here?
The Voice of Democracy is an annual script-writing program designed to give high school students the opportunity to voice their opinion on the patriotic theme and to express their thoughts to the American people.
VFW National Scholarships totaling $154,000 will be awarded, with a first-place scholarship of $30,000.
All ninth- through 12th-grade students, in public, parochial and private schools and home study programs, are eligible to participate through the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Exchange students and past first-place state-level winners are not eligible to participate.
The Department of Kansas (state-level) program will give scholarships and other awards. First-place winner is awarded a monetary scholarship plus an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., in the spring. Department of Kansas second- and third-place winners also receive monetary awards.
In 2015, Post 7285’s VOD essay selection, submitted by Anna Knapp of rural Bern, placed first at both First District and State, earning Knapp $2,000 in scholarships at the National level as well as two all-expenses-paid trips, one to Washington, D.C., and one to Valley Forge, Pa.
Knapp encourages students to enter
As a result of her Department of Kansas win and all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C., and Valley Forge, Knapp has enjoyed a number of very interesting experiences in her young life.
“I’ve made connections all over the country as a result of my VFW experience and have been introduced to a whole new field of interests and opportunities,” Knapp said.
Knapp entered the annual Patriot’s Pen essay contest each year during middle school and the Voice of Democracy contest her first two years in high school. After winning in her sophomore year, she encourages students to seriously consider taking the time and effort to enter this worthwhile contest.
“In addition to the experiences you can enjoy if you win, you will learn a lot about our nation’s foundations as you study and do research in preparation for writing your essay on the assigned theme,” she said.
“Writing the essay piqued my interest in politics, economics and Constitutional Law,” Knapp said. “Even just scratching the surface of these fields of study has helped me to become a better – and more informed – citizen and voter. If you have an opportunity to write the essay this semester, go for it. You can’t go wrong.”