Four Phoenix Middle School eighth graders took home cash prizes for finishing in the top spots of the annual Patriot’s Pen contest sponsored by the Delavan-Darien VFW Post 10173.
Tied for first was Kylin McHough, who along with a student from St. Andrews Parish School, earned $100 for his “Veteran View” poem and essay.
Maelynn Schnurr took second and earned a $50 check. Schurr wrote about veterans’ determination and sacrifice.
Tied for third and earning $25 were Melissa Hernandez and Madison McKay.
Announcing the winners and presenting the checks before a crowd of seventh and eighth graders were VFW Post 10173 members John Leitzke, post commander; Lisa Loomer, Patriot’s Pen chairperson; and Lew Lindloff, post chaplain.
For placing in the top spots of the local competition among Delavan-Darien area schools, the four Phoenix students will have their essays judged at the county level of the Patriot’s Pen essay competition.
Winners there will receive additional cash prizes and their essays can potentially move on to the district, state and national levels, which also award prizes.
Each year more than 100,000 students across the country in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The first-place winner from each state competes to win one of 46 national awards totaling $46,000. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.
The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.
This year’s theme was “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.”
Eighth grade social studies teacher Jess Rima coordinates the essay contest at Phoenix Middle School.