Wyoming Arts Council

Patriot’s Pen youth-essay writing contest

2009-2010 theme: “When is the Right Time to Honor Our Military Heroes?”
Entry Deadline is Nov. 1, 2009

Patriot’s Pen, a youth-essay writing contest is a nationwide competition that gives students in grades 6,7 and 8 the opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy. Annually, more than 115,000 students participate in the contest.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2009-2010. The Patriot’s Pen program is designed to foster patriotism by allowing students the opportunity to express their opinion.

Contestants write a 300-400 word essay based on an annual patriotic theme. The first-place winner receives a $10,000 savings bond and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. The top national winners each receive a savings bond anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.

FMI contact VFW National Headquarters or your local VFW Post (Local: VFW Post 1881, 2816 E. 7th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82001; local point of contact can be reached at 214-9452).

Student Information:
Students can enter by submitting the required entry form (attached), along with their essay, to the local VFW Post. You may also call the VFW National Programs office during normal business hours at 816-968-1117. (Local post: Post 1881 can be reached at 638-8886).

Mail entry form and essay to the local VFW post. Further directions are listed on the entry form. Historically, the theme (annually chosen by the VFW commander-in-chief) is purposely kept broad in scope to allow the participant flexibility in interpretation to encourage originality. Since the VFW is a patriotic organization, the annual theme always will be related to patriotism.

Essay Rules:
Length: 300 – 400 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. A contestant must be a student enrolled in either the 6th, 7th or 8th grade of a public, private, parochial school or a home study program in the United States, its territories or possessions or enrolled in an overseas school as a dependent of U.S. military or U.S. civilian personnel to be eligible to enter this contest. (Foreign Exchange students and former winners that placed in the national finals are not eligible to enter this contest.)

The completed essay and entry form must be in the hands of the VFW Post Chairman by midnight November 1, 2009. Contestants may not identify themselves, their school, city or state 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. 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 and received. The essay must be a contestant’s original work and a product of the contestant’s own thinking. The approach to this year’s theme, “When is the Right Time to Honor Our Military Heroes.” should be positive and focus clearly on the theme. 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 should be judged on the basis of their essay alone and are not required to present the essay orally.

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