PATRIOT’S PEN

Each year more than 125,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $50,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. 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.


The 2019-20 theme is: What makes American Great


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:

Download 2019-20 Entry Form  and return it to VFW Post 9191

Rules and Eligibility


DeadlineThe completed essay and entry form must be in the hands of the VFW Post Chairman by midnight October 31, 2019.



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.