About the 2021-2022 winner …

Syed Ali, an eighth grade student from Lafayette, Louisiana, was named the 2021-2022 Patriot’s Pen first place winner. His essay on the theme, “How Can I Be a Good American?” won him a $5,000 award. Syed was sponsored by New Iberia, Louisiana, VFW Post 1982.

PATRIOT’S PEN

Each year, nearly 68,800 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000!

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. Before submitting your essay, read the rules and eligibility requirements, and find your sponsoring local VFW Post as applications must be turned in by midnight, Oct. 31. 

YOU TOO CAN WIN!

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 school or home study program in the United States and its territories.

HOW TO ENTER:

VFW Post 9934 serves the area of Dana Point and San Clemente, California, and nearby communities. 

In this area, Contact VFW Post 9934 for additional assistance and a copy of the entry form.

Telephone:    (949) 248-1419
Email:         
Address: 33282 Golden Lantern St. Suite 103, Dana Point CA 92629

For areas outside Dana Point and San Clemente, California, contact the local VFW Post.  To locate a Post, go to http://www.vfw.org/find-a-post.

The 2021-2022 theme is: “My Pledge to Our Veterans”

Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition. Then students can contact VFW Post 9934 and establish a contact person who is a member of that Post or Auxiliary.

Deadline — The completed essay and entry form must be in the hands of the VFW Post Chairman by midnight October 31, 2022.

 

JUDGING CRITERIA:

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.

WHAT ARE THE RULES?

  • Essay length: 300-400 typewritten words.
  • You must write your own essay.
  • All essays should be typewritten in English with no color or graphics and cannot be less than 300 words or greater than 400 words in length. (Essays under or over these word amounts will be eliminated.) Every word is counted regardless of length. The essay title (theme) or added footnotes do not contribute to the word count.

In no way may contestants identify themselves in their essay. Do not put your name on your essay. The entry form is your essay’s cover sheet. Secure the Official Student Entry Form with a staple or other fastener on top of your essay. Essays must be written exclusively for this competition. Use of the same essay for other competitions will result in disqualification. Contestants are allowed to enter only once (one Post competition). Contestants found in violation of this rule will face elimination from the competition and will be required to return any and all prize money awarded or received.

The essay must be a contestant’s original work and a product of the contestant’s own thinking. The approach to the Patriot’s Pen theme should be positive and clearly focused. Poetry is not acceptable. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified wherever used. A contestant’s teacher, counselor or parent may check the essay for punctuation, grammar and/or spelling, but the content must remain the contestant’s. Contestants will be judged on the basis of their essay alone and are not required to present the essay orally. All essays become the property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW retains non-exclusive rights to use your essay and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization’s programs and activities.

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