Patriot's Pen

A Youth Essay Writing Contest

back to:  Scholarship Programs

What is Patriot's Pen?
Conducted nationwide, this VFW sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy with the prospect of winning U.S. savings bonds.  We invite you to join the more than 113,000 students who participated last year in this contest.

The top 29 national winners all received at least a $1,000 savings bond.  The first-place award is currently a $10,000 savings bond plus an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the winner and a parent or guardian.

How the contest works

WHO CAN ENTER:

The Patriot's Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8, who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial school or home study program in the United States and its territories.  

Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition. Then students can contact a VFW Century Post 503 member or a member of its Auxiliary.

Essays must be no less than 300 words and cannot exceed 400 words.  They should be submitted to Downers Grove Century Post 503, along with the completed Patriot's Pen entry form (see link below) no later than the November 1 deadline.

JUDGING CRITERIA:

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.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals website

2017-2018 Essay Topic:   "Americas Gift to My Generation"

Essays must be submitted no lateer than October 31, 2017.

Entry Form for Century Post 503 - VFW competition.

2016-2017 Essay Topic:   "The America I Believe In"

Post 503 Honoree:  Oliva Balicki attended the 6th grade at Hillcrest Elementary School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Olivia was presented with a certificate of recognition for her essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen luncheon held at the Montegomery VFW Memorial Post 7452 on January 29, 2017.

Olivia was honored at a luncheon held at Century Post 503 on June 17, 2017 where she was presented a $250.00 scholarship and a "Youth Essay Certificate of Merit".

 

Post 503 Luncheon          District 19 Luncheon         Winning Essay

2015-2016 Essay Topic:   "What Freedom Means to Me"

Post 503 Honoree:  Kira Matheson attended the 8th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Kira was presented with a certificate of recognition for her essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen luncheon held at the Montegomery VFW Memorial Post 7452 on January 24, 2016.

Post 503 Banquet          District 19 Luncheon         Winning Essay

2014-2015 Essay Topic:   "Why I Appreciate America's Veterans"
Post 503 Honoree:  Trevor Owcarz attended the 8th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Trevor was presented with a certificate of recognition for his essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen luncheon held at the Batavia VFW Overseas Post 1197 on January 25, 2015.

Post 503 Banquet          District 19 Luncheon         Winning Essay

2013-2014 Essay Topic:   "What Patriotism Means to Me"
Post 503 Honoree:  Abigail Carlson attended the 7th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Abigail was presented with a certificate of recognition for her essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen luncheon held at the Batavia VFW Overseas Post 1197 on January 26, 2014.  VFW Post 503 also presented Abigail with a $250.00 scholarship check and a certificate of our appreciation for her participation in the Patriot's Pen program at the Post Banquet. 

Post 503 Banquet          District 19 Banquet          Winning Essay

2012-2013 Essay Topic:   "What I Would Tell America's Founding Fathers"

Post 503 Honoree:  Clare McNeeley attended the 7th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Clare was unable to attend the 19th District Patriot's Pen luncheon held at the Batavia Overseas VFW Post 1197 on February 24, 2013.

District 19 Banquet          Winning Essay

2011-2012 Essay Topic:   "Are You Proud of Your Country?"

Post 503 Honoree:  Brock J. Herion attended the 7th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Brock was presented with a certificate of recognition for his essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen luncheon held at the West Chicago Leon Richardt VFW Post 6791 on January 28, 2012.

District 19 Banquet          Winning Essay

2010-2011 Essay Topic:   "Does Patriotism Still Matter?"
Post 503 Honoree:  Alexa M. Bowers attended the 8th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Alexa was presented with a certificate of recognition for her essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen banquet held at the Naperville Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 on January 30, 2011.  

District 19 Banquet          Winning Essay

 

2009-2010 Essay Topic:   "When is the Right Time to Honor Our Military Heroes?"
Post 503 Honoree:  Rachel D. Wydra attended the 8th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Rachel was presented with a certificate in recognition of her essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen banquet held at the Batavia VFW Post 1197 on January 30, 2010.  Rachel was awarded a US Savings bond for $500 from the members of Post 503.

District 19 Banquet          Winning Essay

2008-2009 Essay Topic:   "Why America's Veterans Should Be Honored"

Post 503 Honoree:  Andrew V. Molina attended the 7th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Andrew was presented with a certificate in recognition of his essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen banquet held at the Batavia VFW Post 1197 on January 30, 2009.  Andrew was awarded a US Savings bond for $500 from the members of Post 503.

District 19 Banquet         Winning Essay

2007-2008 Essay Topic:   "Citizenship in America"

Post 503 Honoree:

2006-2007 Essay Topic:   "Why I am an American Patriot"

Post 503 Honoree:  Paige V. Miller attended the 8th grade at O'Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Paige was presented with a certificate in recognition of her essay at the 19th District Patriot's Pen banquet held at the VFW Post x on 2007.  Paige was awarded a US Savings bond for $500 from the members of Post 503.

                                                       Winning Essay

2005-2006 Essay Topic:   "Who Are Today's Patriots"

Post 503 Honoree:

2004-2005 Essay Topic:

Post 503 Honoree:

2003-2004 Essay Topic:   "My Dream for America"

Post 503 Honoree:  Diann A. Hill from Bolingbrook attended the 8th grade at Kingswood Academy in Darien, Illinois.  Diann was presented with a check for $250.00 from Post 503 in recognition of her winning essay.  The 19th District post winners were acknowledged at the Warrenville Post 8081 banquet on March 20, 2004.

District 19 Banquet         Winning Essay

VFW Post 503 Patriot's Pen Chairman:   Bob Nimz

Webmaster
 Revised: August 31, 2017