Veterans of Foreign Wars essay contests focus on veterans

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Contests award prizes at local to national levels

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts in Monett and Shell Knob encourage area students in grades 6-12 to enter nationwide, patriotic essay contests before Nov. 1.

The Patriot's Pen essay contest is open to students in grades 6-8. This year's topic is, "Why I Appreciate America's Veterans."

The typewritten essay must be between 300 and 400 words. Students should only write their name on the entry form and not on their essay.

The Voice of Democracy contest is open for students in grades 9-12. The topic is, "Why Veterans are Important to Our Nation's History and Future." Each student records his or her original three- to five-minute essay on a standard cassette tape or audio CD.

The body of the essay should not identify the student. However, the recording and the typed essay should be labeled with the student's name.

Hearing and speech impaired students should contact the Voice of Democracy National Office at 816-968-1117 for special instructions.

The contests encourage "The young people to seek knowledge about patriotism, what it means to them, how veterans fit into the history of the country," said Dave Atkinson, the Shell Knob Post commander.

A student may come at it from a personal point of view, and another student may come at it from a historical point of view, he said.

"The whole thing is opened to encourage them to think about and organize their thoughts and write about the topic," Atkinson said.

The Monett or Shell Knob Posts initially judge all the area entries.

Barry County students can either send their entries to Monett or Shell Knob.

The Monett Post address is: VFW Post 4207, Attn Post Commander, Highway 60, Monett, MO 65708.

The Shell Knob Post address is: VFW Post 2203, P.O. Box 205, Shell Knob, MO 65747.

The students could also give their applications to their school counselors, said Ken Madison, the Monett Post commander.

For the district competition, each VFW post may submit one essay per 15 entries, or two if more than 15 and under 30, three if more than 30 and under 45, and so on.

District entries are judged in Shell Knob, and state entries are judged in Jefferson City, Madison said.

The top 46 national winners all receive at least $500 in the Patriot's Pen contest. The first-place national winner receives $5,000 plus an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the winner and a parent or a guardian from Feb. 28 to March 4.

The Post, district, state and national levels award prizes and scholarships with the high school contest. The state winners receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., from Feb. 28 to March 4. They receive portions of $152,000 in national awards. The top scholarship is $30,000.

The judging criteria and the rules are on each contest application. Patriot's Pen applications are at Voice of Democracy applications are at Area students can also get either application at their school or the Shell Knob public library.

For more information, people may call Atkinson at 417-858-0171 or Madison at 417-235-4485.

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