Patriot's Pen

Region 15 students participated in the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars contest and now the winners will advance to the district competition.

Region 15 eighth grade students submitted their essays to the VFW Patriot’s Pen Contest, a nationwide writing competition, to express their views on democracy. Annually, more than 115,000 students participate in the contest nationwide. The students wrote a 300-400 word essay based on this year's patriotic theme: "Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans." The essays are judged on theme development, clarity of ideas, and knowledge of the theme.

The winning essays were read and selected by members of the Southbury-based George Newton VFW Post 1607.

In December, Rochambeau Middle School invited Larry Williams, VFW Post 1607's Patriot's Pen coordinator and Junior Vice Commander, and Adjutant Harmon Andrews to their awards ceremony. The first place winners at RMS were Izzy W., Jacob F., Dylan K., Robert M., Nate B., Jake Z., Seth A., and Isabelle B..

In January, VFW Senior Vice Commander Jim Fernandes congratulated the students at Memorial Middle School for their participation in the contest. The first place winners were Walker M., Michael T., Terrance D., Dylan P., Olivia H., McKenna E., and Jillian M..

Rochambeau Middle School Grade 8 English teachers, Cheryl Horton and Lauren Neth coordinated the writing contest at their school. Members of the eighth grade team at Memorial Middle School were the contest coordinators at MMS.

"Mrs. Horton and I were impressed by your thoughtfully crafted essays,” said Ms. Neth. “Many of you mentioned that you looked at veterans as our modern day heroes. You were grateful for their courage and respected their selflessness. In addition, many of you were able to make connections to veterans that you knew personally, such as your parents, grandparents, cousins, and friends.”

Larry Williams explained to the students that the program’s purpose is to foster true patriotism and put into action the students’ thoughts regarding their responsibility to their country and speak up for their country for freedom and democracy.

The contest consists of four levels. The entry level is sponsored by local VFW Posts. Post winners advance to the regional level where the one first-place winner advances to the state level. The one first-place winner then advances into the VFW National competition. The winner from each state then competes for the national prizes.