What is the Patriot’s Pen Program?
Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme.
We invite you to join the more than 84,000 students who participated last year in this contest.
Why Should I Enter?
Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, State and national level. Department (State) winners receive a portion of $55,000 in national awards. National Winners will receive at least $500. The first-place national award is currently $5,000.
The Internal Revenue Service requires a recipient awarded more than $599 be given Form 1099 identifying the proceeds as taxable income. This may require the winner to provide their social security number.
How Does the Contest Work?
All entries begin at the VFW Post level. The only exception is where schools/classes/youth groups have large numbers of students and wish to conduct their own competition, submitting one winner for each 15 students to the VFW Post. Individual students may submit their entry directly to the Post.
The contest consists of four levels. The first level (entry) is sponsored by VFW Posts. Post winners advance, one for every 15 entries, to the VFW District (regional) level where the one first-place winner is advanced to the VFW Department (state) level. The first-place winner at the Department level is then advanced into the VFW national competition.
Who Can Enter?
Patriot’s Pen is open to 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private or parochial schools in the U.S., its territories or its possessions. Home-schooled students also are eligible. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence (the application which has not been denied) and intends to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law. (Foreign exchange students or former winners that placed in the National contest are ineligible.)
How Do I Get Started?
• Ask a teacher or youth group/club adult leader to supervise the Patriot’s Pen writing contest.
• Contact a participating VFW Post and indicate your interest in participating.
• Establish a contact person who is a member of that VFW Post or its VFW Auxiliary.
• Make sure that your essay is submitted to the VFW Post before the contest deadline of Oct. 31, 2022. You can submit your essay and entry form by email upon the Post’s approval. Entries sent to the VFW National Headquarters directly will be returned.
How Am I Judged?
Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points:
You must show a thorough knowledge of the theme in your work. Demonstrate you have researched the issue extensively.
Theme development is worth 35 points:
Answer all relevant facts about the theme such as the who, what, where, when and why. Relate the theme to your own experiences.
Clarity of ideas is worth 35 points:
Write your essay in an easy-to-understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of your explanation of the theme.
What Is the Theme?
VFW’s Commander-in-Chief annually chooses the year’s theme. The 2022-2023 theme is:
“My Pledge To Our Veterans.”
To qualify, all entries must be submitted to a sponsoring VFW Post by midnight October 31, 2022.
Note:If you need help finding a participating VFW Post, follow these instructions:First, visit vfw.org/FindaPost to “Find a VFW Post.”If you don’t have success in finding a Post, or if you have trouble contacting them, you can contact your VFW Department (state) headquarters office to see if they can offer any information or assistance. You can visit vfw.org/contactus to look for “Find a State Contact” to get your VFW state office’s phone number and Email.
For assistance contact
the VFW National Headquarters at 816.756.3390 ext. 6155 Email: email@example.com