Each year, VFW members around the country participate in a national writing contest for seventh and eighth grade students called The Patriot’s Pen Essay Competition. This year, the contest’s theme is Does Patriotism Still Matter? – a subject that obviously has special meaning to the members of Sea Isle City’s VFW Post 1963, who help run the event locally.
According to Post 1963 Junior Vice Commander Mike Rodgers, the yearly competition is sponsored by the VFW’s National Headquarters. In order to win, participating students compose essays up to 400 words in length, which are judged based on their knowledge of the theme, theme development and clarity of ideas.
Essays submitted in The Patriot’s Pen Essay Competition are first judged by a panel of five local veterans. Afterwards, local winners advance to the district and national levels. The contest’s grand prize is a $10,500 savings bond.
Recently, Olivia Mack, a 7th grade student at the Ocean City Intermediate School, was honored as Post 1963’s local winner. During a special student assembly at her school, Post 1963 veterans presented Mack with a plaque while her fellow students and her parents looked on.
Mack’s essay will next be reviewed by judges at VFW District 617 Headquarters in Cape May on March 10.
“Those of us who had the privilege to judge this contest wish Olivia continued success as her essay moves onto the next level of judging,” said Rodgers.
“We judges were very impressed by the research and writing skills of the students who participated in the competition,” said Post 1963 Senior Vice Commander Joe Smith.
“It was obvious that the students put in a lot of time, effort and thought into their entries,” added Post 1963 Commander Charles Haines. “Congratulations to them all!”