The “Patriot’s Pen” essay contest is conducted nationwide each year. Over 100,000, 6th - 7th and 8th-grade students participate in this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition, which gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme was: How can I be a good American?.
The national awards total $54,500! The national winners receive at least $500.00. The first-place national award is currently $5,000 plus an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the winner and a parent or guardian.
Essays are judged locally and follow a “blind judging” format put forward by the VFW. Each judge uses a “Patriot’s Pen” scoresheet and the essays are judged on knowledge of theme, theme development, and clarity of idea. The first-place winner from each VFW Post will advance on to the district level of competition.
VFW, Post 1132, Dave Kearney took the podium at the Kane Area Middle School and said, "The local VFW would like to thank students for their participation in our essay contest, and encourage others to participate in the future!
"This year we are very proud that 11 students from the Kane Area Middle school entered essays in the local contest.
"Each student entering an essay will receive a $15.00 Texas Hot gift card, plus monetary prizes of $200.00 for 1st place, $100.00 for 2nd place, and $50.00 for 3rd place."
Ruby Jekielek (8th grade) gave her speech at the Veterans Day Assembly. Miss Jekielek said, "On Veterans Day, each year we remember and appreciate our men and women who have served in our Army, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. While we were at home, they traveled land and sea to make sure we stay safe and to protect and keep us free. Our Veterans have made many sacrifices. They have left their families and loved ones to fight to keep our country safe.
"Let's never forget their sacrifice, the hard, heavy work they have done. They did what was asked and fulfilled the crucial needs. On Veterans Day we honor all who have answered a service call. Soldiers young, soldiers old, fought for freedom brave and bold. Some have lived. While others died, and all of them deserve our pride. Over the past 70 years, the US military has been to more than 200 countries and territories. There are around 19 million US Veterans as of this past year.
"We're happy and proud to honor them. They gave so much more than they got, our heroes, our Veterans keep freedom safe. So, for that, we owe them a lot. So happy Veterans Day to each armed force. It is because of you that each of us can enjoy safety and freedom."
Sophia Lundeen (8th grade) read her speech to the audience next. Miss Lundeen said, "November 11th, 1918, signaled the end of The First World War. Every year in the United States we make this day to honor the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
"The United States Congress proclaimed in 1926 that the 11th of November should be a day of thanksgiving and prayer. Also, all government buildings should display the United States Flag on this day and people of the U.S. should observe this day with ceremonies of peace.
"In 1938, the government made November 11th a legal holiday - a day dedicated to world peace, called Armistice Day. Then, in 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day and declared it a day to honor American Veterans of all wars.
"Today, there are around 19 million U.S. Veterans. Currently, there are 1.4 million men and women actively serving in the military.
"So, every year on November 11th, remember to take time to pay honor to the Veterans of America for their courage, their love for our country, and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for our freedom."
VFW Post 1132, Dave Kearney announced the winners:
- 1st Place Rylee Oakes -- $200
- 2nd Place Mia Jenkins - $100
- 3rd Place Marley Rostan - $50
VFW, Post 1132, Dave Kearney gave his closing statement:
"I would like to close by reminding everyone that on this Veterans Day if you have a loved one, a neighbor, or a friend who has served our country in the military, take a moment to thank them for their service.
"Again, thank you teachers for encouraging your students to participate, and to those 11 students who submitted their essays.
"Also, thank you to the Honor Society students for their presentation and to your Principal Mr. Israel for hosting this assembly."
Veterans of Foreign War, Post 1132, that attended were Dave Kearney, John Odonish, Rob Merry, Ron Larson, Joe Zampogna, and Barry Kinney.