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Patriot’s pen gives 6th, 7th and 8th grade students the opportunity to express their opinion on a patriotic theme and improve their writing skills, while they compete for worthwhile awards and prizes. First place winner will receive a $10,000 Savings Bond.

Essay 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 then 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, 2016.

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, "The America I Believe In" , 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.

All entries must be submitted to a VFW Post competition. If you have difficulty identifying a sponsoring post in your area, contact the Patriot’s Pen Chairman the Department office .

Please send application to our Post / Auxiliary for submissions

The Woodlands, TX 77387-8341

Copyright © 2016 VFW POST 12024, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

2017-2018 “PATRIOT’S PEN” ESSAY Program

All information pertaining to the theme, judging, eligibility, awards and other aspects of this program are contained in the Veterans of Foreign Wars program booklet for the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program. District Chairmen are responsible to ensure that their District programs are conducted within these rules and deadlines. District Chairmen are solely responsible for the conduct of the program within their Districts. Make sure that you distribute copies of your program to all Posts in your District in sufficient time to ensure a successful competition.

The Patriot’s Pen Essay Program is a joint program with the VFW Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Michigan. The Auxiliary does not need the permission of a Post to participate in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program. Post and District Chairmen are expected to include their VFW Auxiliary counterparts in all activities concerning the conduct of local and District programs. Coordination of the District program is the sole responsibility of each District Chairman. Post Chairmen must refer to their District program for their District program requirements and deadline dates.

THEME: ” America’s Gift to My Generation”

Eligibility: Sixth (6 th ), Seventh (7 th ) and Eighth (8 th ) grade students in public, private, parochial and home schools in the State of Michigan. Former first place winners at the State and National level competition or any foreign exchange student are not eligible. Students do not have to be a relative of a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars or its VFW Auxiliary to participate.

ESSAY: Essays must be typed or computer printed in English, between 300-400 words, on a single sheet of paper, with no added color or art.

To receive credit for participation in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program, a Post MUST SPONSOR THE PROGRAM IN THEIR COMMUNITY. While it is important to offer the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program in our schools, it is not solely a program for the schools. You may offer the competition to any sixth, seventh or eighth grade student. Foreign exchange students are not eligible. All entries MUST be submitted directly to the Post. They may be sponsored through local schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church youth groups, Junior ROTC programs, etc. The Post is encouraged to solicit participants from as many sources as possible.

The Post will hold their own judging and may submit to District the number of students permitted by the following breakdown.

1-15 student participants = 1 top Post entry is allowed to advance to District

16-30 student participants = 2 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

31-45 student participants = 3 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

46-60 student participants = 4 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

61-75 student participants = 5 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

Posts may advance as many winners as they select based on the total number of students participating. Post judging is the responsibility of the Post Chairman and must be conducted in accordance with the National Judging Criteria.

The Post may forward each 1 st place winning entry to District. Each student entry submitted by a Post to District must be an equal 1 st place winner. This means each Post student entry sent to District must receive the same award. For example, a Post has 55 student entries and is eligible to send four entries to District for judging. These four entries must each receive an equal first place award from the Post. If the Post lists them as 1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd , 4 th place, then they can only send in one entry as the 1 st place winner.

Single Winner School Option. A teacher working in cooperation with a Post can elect to hold a competition in the school, judge the participants and advance one student entry selected as the school first place winner. The one declared school winner will advance to District as the “school winner” from each participating school sponsored by the Post.

Each District shall be responsible for the conduct of the program and judging of entries within their District. District Chairmen are expected to promote the expansion of the program by encouraging the participation of additional Posts. It is not always possible to restrict sponsorship strictly along VFW District boundaries. Posts may solicit student participation from any geographical area within the State of Michigan as long as they do not interfere with the sponsorship of other Posts. District Chairmen are expected to assist Posts in the coordination of sponsorship of all schools in their District. It is unacceptable that a school is not contacted.

Each District may submit only one entry to the Department for judging. This entry must be certified on the proper National Entry Form by the District Chairman to be the District First Place Winner of the District Program judging.

The following items MUST accompany the District entry to Department for judging.

A) One student essay in accordance with the above rules.

B) One completed student entry form from the National Program booklet.

C) One good quality picture, preferably wallet sized.

D) One signed student release form provided by Department.

E) One State Biographical Questionnaire for the District Winner.

It is the responsibility of the District Chairman to ensure that all materials are included. Any entry that does not include all materials may not be judged.

Reporting: To obtain program credit the Post Chairman portion of the Student Entry Form must be completed and submitted to District with each Post entry. The form must include the number of students participating from the school and the approximate cost for the program and awards for that school. Proper credit cannot be given without this information. District Chairmen are required to prepare and submit a consolidated report of Post participation within their District using the District Report Form and the District Summary Form. These reports should accompany the District entry to Department.

Deadlines: Deadline for Post sponsored program entries is October 31, 2017. Post judging may not be held before November 1, 2017 and must be completed in time to ensure that winning entries are delivered to the District Chairmen by November 15, 2017.

District judging may not be held before November 16, 2017 and must be completed in time to ensure that the winning entry with all required materials are delivered to the Department Chairman by December 7, 2017. District judging is the responsibility of the District Chairman to be conducted in accordance with the National Judging Criteria.

The Department deadline for District entries is December 7, 2017. This deadline is ABSOLUTE and it includes all paper work. Department judging will be closed and will be the responsibility of the Department Committee. Be advised that the state judging will be attended only by the VFW Department Committee Members, VFW State Auxiliary Committee Members and the State Judges. The Committee has the sole authority to disqualify from the Department judging any entry which is in violation of the rules as stated in the Department Program and the National Program booklet.

All Post and District awards are the responsibility of those organizations.

Department Awards will be as follows:

FIRST PLACE: $1,000.00 Wes Longanbach Memorial Award and a plaque presented by the Department of Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars.

SECOND PLACE: $850.00 VFW Auxiliary Award and a plaque presented by the Department of Michigan VFW Auxiliary.

THIRD PLACE: $750.00 and a plaque presented by Harry & Pamela Croyle and James Pintar.

FIHTH PLACE: $500.00 District 15 Award presented by District 15 Department of Michigan, Veterans of Foreign Wars and a plaque.

SIXTH PLACE: $500.00 District 9 Award presented by District 9 Department of Michigan, Veterans of Foreign Wars and a plaque.

SEVENTH PLACE: $500.00 Barry and Pam Walter Award presented by Barry and Pam Walter and a plaque.

EIGHTH PLACE: $500.00 District 7 & VFW Auxiliary Award presented by District 7 Commander & VFW Auxiliary and a plaque.

NINTH PLACE: $500.00 Julia Van Tiem Shonts Award and a plaque presented by James & Sandy Van Tien.

TENTH PLACE: $500.00 10 District Award and Plaque Presented by the District Commander

ELEVENTH PLACE: $500.00 Michael James Fineis and Cynthiana Ann Gilbertson Award and Plaque

TWELFTH PLACE: $500.00 VFW Post 6802 and Auxiliary Award and plaque presented by the Commander____ and President____ .

The “Wes Longanbach Memorial Traveling Trophy” will be awarded to the Post of the 1 st place winner to display for one year. The trophy will be returned to the Department Chairman not later than December 7 each year to be awarded to the Post of the next year’s State winner.

Department awards will be presented at the 2018 Department of Michigan Mid-Winter Conference. District winners receiving Department awards will be invited to Mid-Winter Conference and are expected to be present. The sponsoring District must assume the cost of their winner’s transportation, meals and lodging. Department will provide each District winner one banquet ticket. Banquet tickets for family members and other guests are the sole responsibility of the District in cooperation with the sponsoring Post.

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2017-2018 “PATRIOT’S PEN” ESSAY Program

All information pertaining to the theme, judging, eligibility, awards and other aspects of this program are contained in the Veterans of Foreign Wars program booklet for the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program. District Chairmen are responsible to ensure that their District programs are conducted within these rules and deadlines. District Chairmen are solely responsible for the conduct of the program within their Districts. Make sure that you distribute copies of your program to all Posts in your District in sufficient time to ensure a successful competition.

The Patriot’s Pen Essay Program is a joint program with the VFW Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Michigan. The Auxiliary does not need the permission of a Post to participate in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program. Post and District Chairmen are expected to include their VFW Auxiliary counterparts in all activities concerning the conduct of local and District programs. Coordination of the District program is the sole responsibility of each District Chairman. Post Chairmen must refer to their District program for their District program requirements and deadline dates.

THEME: ” America’s Gift to My Generation”

Eligibility: Sixth (6 th ), Seventh (7 th ) and Eighth (8 th ) grade students in public, private, parochial and home schools in the State of Michigan. Former first place winners at the State and National level competition or any foreign exchange student are not eligible. Students do not have to be a relative of a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars or its VFW Auxiliary to participate.

ESSAY: Essays must be typed or computer printed in English, between 300-400 words, on a single sheet of paper, with no added color or art.

To receive credit for participation in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program, a Post MUST SPONSOR THE PROGRAM IN THEIR COMMUNITY. While it is important to offer the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program in our schools, it is not solely a program for the schools. You may offer the competition to any sixth, seventh or eighth grade student. Foreign exchange students are not eligible. All entries MUST be submitted directly to the Post. They may be sponsored through local schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church youth groups, Junior ROTC programs, etc. The Post is encouraged to solicit participants from as many sources as possible.

The Post will hold their own judging and may submit to District the number of students permitted by the following breakdown.

1-15 student participants = 1 top Post entry is allowed to advance to District

16-30 student participants = 2 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

31-45 student participants = 3 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

46-60 student participants = 4 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

61-75 student participants = 5 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District

Posts may advance as many winners as they select based on the total number of students participating. Post judging is the responsibility of the Post Chairman and must be conducted in accordance with the National Judging Criteria.

The Post may forward each 1 st place winning entry to District. Each student entry submitted by a Post to District must be an equal 1 st place winner. This means each Post student entry sent to District must receive the same award. For example, a Post has 55 student entries and is eligible to send four entries to District for judging. These four entries must each receive an equal first place award from the Post. If the Post lists them as 1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd , 4 th place, then they can only send in one entry as the 1 st place winner.

Single Winner School Option. A teacher working in cooperation with a Post can elect to hold a competition in the school, judge the participants and advance one student entry selected as the school first place winner. The one declared school winner will advance to District as the “school winner” from each participating school sponsored by the Post.

Each District shall be responsible for the conduct of the program and judging of entries within their District. District Chairmen are expected to promote the expansion of the program by encouraging the participation of additional Posts. It is not always possible to restrict sponsorship strictly along VFW District boundaries. Posts may solicit student participation from any geographical area within the State of Michigan as long as they do not interfere with the sponsorship of other Posts. District Chairmen are expected to assist Posts in the coordination of sponsorship of all schools in their District. It is unacceptable that a school is not contacted.

Each District may submit only one entry to the Department for judging. This entry must be certified on the proper National Entry Form by the District Chairman to be the District First Place Winner of the District Program judging.

The following items MUST accompany the District entry to Department for judging.

A) One student essay in accordance with the above rules.

B) One completed student entry form from the National Program booklet.

C) One good quality picture, preferably wallet sized.

D) One signed student release form provided by Department.

E) One State Biographical Questionnaire for the District Winner.

It is the responsibility of the District Chairman to ensure that all materials are included. Any entry that does not include all materials may not be judged.

Reporting: To obtain program credit the Post Chairman portion of the Student Entry Form must be completed and submitted to District with each Post entry. The form must include the number of students participating from the school and the approximate cost for the program and awards for that school. Proper credit cannot be given without this information. District Chairmen are required to prepare and submit a consolidated report of Post participation within their District using the District Report Form and the District Summary Form. These reports should accompany the District entry to Department.

Deadlines: Deadline for Post sponsored program entries is October 31, 2017. Post judging may not be held before November 1, 2017 and must be completed in time to ensure that winning entries are delivered to the District Chairmen by November 15, 2017.

District judging may not be held before November 16, 2017 and must be completed in time to ensure that the winning entry with all required materials are delivered to the Department Chairman by December 7, 2017. District judging is the responsibility of the District Chairman to be conducted in accordance with the National Judging Criteria.

The Department deadline for District entries is December 7, 2017. This deadline is ABSOLUTE and it includes all paper work. Department judging will be closed and will be the responsibility of the Department Committee. Be advised that the state judging will be attended only by the VFW Department Committee Members, VFW State Auxiliary Committee Members and the State Judges. The Committee has the sole authority to disqualify from the Department judging any entry which is in violation of the rules as stated in the Department Program and the National Program booklet.

All Post and District awards are the responsibility of those organizations.

Department Awards will be as follows:

FIRST PLACE: $1,000.00 Wes Longanbach Memorial Award and a plaque presented by the Department of Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars.

SECOND PLACE: $850.00 VFW Auxiliary Award and a plaque presented by the Department of Michigan VFW Auxiliary.

THIRD PLACE: $750.00 and a plaque presented by Harry & Pamela Croyle and James Pintar.

FIHTH PLACE: $500.00 District 15 Award presented by District 15 Department of Michigan, Veterans of Foreign Wars and a plaque.

SIXTH PLACE: $500.00 District 9 Award presented by District 9 Department of Michigan, Veterans of Foreign Wars and a plaque.

SEVENTH PLACE: $500.00 Barry and Pam Walter Award presented by Barry and Pam Walter and a plaque.

EIGHTH PLACE: $500.00 District 7 & VFW Auxiliary Award presented by District 7 Commander & VFW Auxiliary and a plaque.

NINTH PLACE: $500.00 Julia Van Tiem Shonts Award and a plaque presented by James & Sandy Van Tien.

TENTH PLACE: $500.00 10 District Award and Plaque Presented by the District Commander

ELEVENTH PLACE: $500.00 Michael James Fineis and Cynthiana Ann Gilbertson Award and Plaque

TWELFTH PLACE: $500.00 VFW Post 6802 and Auxiliary Award and plaque presented by the Commander____ and President____ .

The “Wes Longanbach Memorial Traveling Trophy” will be awarded to the Post of the 1 st place winner to display for one year. The trophy will be returned to the Department Chairman not later than December 7 each year to be awarded to the Post of the next year’s State winner.

Department awards will be presented at the 2018 Department of Michigan Mid-Winter Conference. District winners receiving Department awards will be invited to Mid-Winter Conference and are expected to be present. The sponsoring District must assume the cost of their winner’s transportation, meals and lodging. Department will provide each District winner one banquet ticket. Banquet tickets for family members and other guests are the sole responsibility of the District in cooperation with the sponsoring Post.

Contests & Scholarships

Just as we work hard to serve and support veterans, service personnel and military families, the VFW sponsors many programs that recognize excellence among youth, students, adults, employers, healthcare personnel and safety professionals who make a difference in their communities. Entries must be submitted by a local VFW Posts that participate in these programs.

  • Barger Nursing Scholarships – The Department awards six $1,000 scholarships to nursing students who are veterans or related to veterans. Applications are processed through the PA State Nurses Association, and winners are chosen randomly by VFW and PSNA representatives. Posts are encouraged to make donations of any size, and/or to participate in the Annual Barger Scholarship Golf Tournament, to help make this fund self-sustaining. For more information contact State HQs at (717) 234-7927. For more information and to learn how to support the tournament click here.
  • Citizenship Education:Contests Teachers of the Year* – Each year, we honor a teacher in the elementary, junior high and senior high school categories for their efforts to teach students about being responsible citizens, about appreciation the freedoms that they have and about the role that veterans have played in keeping America free. In addition, the PA VFW and its Auxiliary hold a coloring contest each year for grades 2-5 to help young students develop patriotism; one winner per grade. Judging is held in April and entries should be sent to the Program Chairman by March 1st. Earlier deadlines apply for submitting entries at the local level. Contact State HQs (717 234-7927) to receive the Chairman’s information. Coloring Contest page.
  • Eagle Scout Award* – One Eagle Scout is presented with the PA VFW Eagle Scout of the Year Award. Entries must be submitted through a local VFW Post, which forwards it to the State Youth Activities Chairman (see “About Us”, “Leadership” section). More info or contact VFW State Headquarters at (717) 234-7927.
  • Employer Awards – The Department presents an award to employers (three size categories) who excel in hiring veterans, plus one individual is honored for helping veterans to prepare for employment. For information contact State HQ at (717) 234-7927.
  • Geiger Scholarship – This annual scholarship is awarded to a high school student advancing to secondary education (must be related to a veteran). For information contact State HQ at (717) 234-7927.
  • Healthcare Awards – The Department presents three healthcare awards annually. Details and submission requirements
  • Loyalty Day – On May 1, the VFW leads ceremonies to recognize Loyalty to America Day when all citizens are encouraged to reflect on the freedoms they have, to support democracy and to honor those who protect America. Loyalty Day began as “Americanization Day” in 1921 to counter the Communists’ May 1 celebration of the Russian Revolution. The PA VFW and its Auxiliary hold contests every year to encourage members and students to celebrate Loyalty Day. The contest is for any member of the VFW, its Auxiliary and Junior girls. Essays must contain 200-300 words about the theme and are due no later than March 1 to the Program Chairman. First place prize in two categories (active VFW/Auxiliary and Jr. Girls) is a plaque and $100.
  • Patriot’s Pen (Jr. High Speech Contest)* – Students from grades 6-8 enter to win a cash prize by writing a speech on a patriotic theme. The Department winner will attend a banquet for VFW student scholarships in January and present the winning essay. Contest Announcement. Perpetual Scholarship Fund Donation Form. For more info contact VFW State Headquarters at (717) 234-7927.
  • ROTC Leadership Awards – The Department presents certificates and medals to leaders of high school ROTC units. To request VFW certificates and/or medals contact State HQs, (717) 234-7927.
  • Public Safety Awards* – Recognition is given each year to one firefighter, police officer and EMS responder. All nominations must be made through a Pennsylvania VFW Post. Post Commanders: to nominate someone please use the forms found on this web site … “Post/District Tools” section, then “Forms & Facts”, then “Post Info” and scroll down to Safety Award Nominations or contact VFW State Headquarters at (717) 234-7927
  • Voice of Democracy (High School Essay Contest)*– Invites students grades 9-12 to express themselves about democratic ideas and principles. The District winners will attend a banquet for VFW student scholarships in January where the top five essays are recognized and monetary prizes are awarded. The first-place student will present the winning essay and will receive a free trip to Washington, D.C. to join the other state winners for special activities.

* Winners of the programs marked with an asterisk advance to the National VFW competition to represent our Department.

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