Shell Knob VFW hosts essay contest

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Middle, high school students encouraged to enter

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts in Monett and Shell Knob encourage area public and home schooled students in grades 6-12 to enter nationwide, patriotic essay contests before Nov. 1. This year's contests encourages youth to think about different aspects of their country.

The Patriot's Pen essay contest is open to youth in grades 6-8. This year's topic is, "What Freedom Means to Me." Typewritten essays must be between 300 and 400 words. Students should write their name only on the entry form and not on the essay.

The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $50,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.

The Voice of Democracy contest is open for students in grades 9-12. The topic is, "My Vision for America." Each student is required to record an original three- to five-minute essay on a standard cassette tape or audio CD. The body of the essay should not identify the student. The recording and the typed essay should both be labeled with the student's name.

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient's American university, college or vocational-technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000 to$16,000. The first-place winner from each state VFW Department will win a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

The Monett or Shell Knob Posts initially judge all the area entries. District entries will be judged in Shell Knob, and state entries will be judged in Jefferson City. The judging criteria and the rules are on each contest application.

Patriot's Pen applications are at vfw.org/PatriotsPen. Voice of Democracy applications are at vfw.org/VOD. Area students can also get either application at their school or the Shell Knob public library.

Entries may be mailed to VFW Post 4207, Attn: Post Commander, Highway 60, Monett, MO 65708 or VFW Post 2203, P.O. Box 205, Shell Knob, MO 65747. Students can also submit their applications to school counselors.

For more information, people may call David Atkinson, Shell Knob Post Commander, at 417-858-0171.