VFW believes strongly in good citizenship and fostering patriotism. That’s why we encourage youthful minds to examine our nation’s history and their own experiences in modern American society through our Patriot’s Pen youth essay-writing contest.
Annually, roughly 124,000, students from grades 6-8, enter to win one of several savings bonds totaling $1.1 million, as well as an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the National first place winner.
Students draft a 300-400 word essay, expressing their views based on an — always patriotic — annual theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.
WHO CAN ENTER:
The Patriot's Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories.
Please note: Current 8th grade students are not eligible for the 2012-2013 Patriot’s Pen contest, they can, however, enter the Voice of Democracy contest for 9th-12th grade high school students - before November 1, 2012.
HOW TO ENTER:
The deadline for the 2012-2013 program is November 1, 2012. The theme for 2012-2013 is: “What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers.”
Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition. Then students can contact a local participating VFW Post and established a contact person who is a member of that Post or its Ladies Auxiliary.
Next, it is time to start drafting considering the 2012-2013 theme, "What I Would Tell America's Founding Fathers."Essays must be no less than 300 words and cannot exceed 400 words and should be submitted to the Post, along with the completed Patriot's Pen entry form no later than the November 1 deadline.
Knowledge of the theme 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.
Click here for the 2012-2013 Patriot's Pen entry form