TOWNSEND — Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6538 and its Auxiliary are sponsoring the Patriot’s Pen Written Essay Competition for students in grades 6-8, with the theme of this year’s essay being “My Pledge to Our Veterans.”
Essays submitted for the competition must be written in English, typed and should contain 300 to 400 words (with a five word variance over or under). Every word, regardless of length, will be counted — including one letter words, hyphenated words, or digits. The essay title or footnotes will not contribute to the word count.
When submitting essays, students should not put their name on the top of an essay. Instead, a completed Official Student Patriot’s Pen Competition entry form must be stapled to the top.
Within the essay, students should not identify themselves, their school, town, state, race or national origin.
Essays should approach the theme positively and clearly. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified when used but poetry is not acceptable.
Judges will make decisions based on knowledge of the theme (30 points), theme development (35 points), and clarity of ideas (35 points).
At the local level, $100 will be awarded to the first place competition winner. The second place winner will receive $70 and $40 will be awarded to the third place winner. VFW Post No. 6538 and its Auxiliary will advance one of its highest scoring essays to the District 15 level of competition for each fifteen entries received at the local level.
The District 15 VFW and its Auxiliary will award a total of $225 in cash to their top three winners. The winning District entry will be entered into the Department of Massachusetts VFW level of competition. The state’s top five winners will each receive monetary awards from both the Department of Massachusetts VFW and the VFW Auxiliary Department of Massachusetts. The first-place state entry will be entered into the national competition.
The top prize of $5,000 will be awarded by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliary to the first place national winner. Additional national prizes include $4,000 for second place, $3,500 for third place, $2,750 for fourth place, $2,500 for fifth place, $2,000 for sixth place, $1,750 for seventh place, and $1,500 each to the eighth, ninth, and tenth place winners. The 11th and 12th place winners will be awarded $1,250 each, with $1,000 each to the 13th through 23rd place winners. $750 each will go to the 24th and 25th place winners, and $500 each to the 26th through 53rd place winners.
This is the 29th year the VFW and its Auxiliary have sponsored a youth essay program which gives students in grades 6-8 the opportunity to express their views on a patriotic theme while they compete for worthwhile awards and prizes. More than 84,000 students participated in this nationwide competition last year.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals has approved the Patriot’s Pen Contest for its National Advisory List of Student Contests and Activities for 2022-2023.
Essay entries should be submitted to VFW Auxiliary to Townsend Post No. 6538 President Betty Mae Tenney or to Townsend VFW Post No. 6538 Commander Natalie Call by Monday, Oct. 31.
Students attending the Hawthorne Brook Middle School in Townsend are asked to submit their entries through their classroom teachers to Tenney and Call.
Anyone seeking more contest information or students being educated elsewhere may make arrangements to submit an entry by calling Tenney at 978-597-5644, ext. 9, or at 978-597-6495.
Although U.S. citizenship is not required to enter the contest, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence (the application of which has not been denied.)