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Patriot’s Pen gives 6th, 7th and 8th grade students the opportunity to express their opinion on a patriotic theme and improve their writing skills, while they compete for worthwhile awards and prizes. Department (state) winners compete for $70,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds at the national level with the winner receiving a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond during the VFW/Ladies Auxiliary Community Service Conference in Washington, D.C., in March each year.

Total prizes from Bloomingdale VFW Post 7539 total $200+.   Winner(s) are eligible to compete at district.  There are 7 scholarships available at the 19th District level that total $1,375 which will be awarded, along with other prizes, at the district's annual pizza party being held on February 24, 2013 at the Batavia VFW #1197.

2015-16 Theme:   “What Freedom Means to Me”

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 120,000 students who participated last year in this contest.  The top 31 national winners all receive 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.

Big National Prizes

Prizes include the various amounts of U.S. Savings Bonds listed below:

1st place: $10,000 Bond. 2nd: $7,000 Bond.

3rd: $5,500 Bond. 4th: $5,000 Bond.

5th: $4,000 Bond. 6th: $3,500 Bond.

7th: $3,000 Bond. 8th: $3,000 Bond.

9th: $2,500 Bond. 10th: $2,500 Bond.

11th: $2,500 Bond. 12th: $2,000 Bond.

13th: $1,500 Bond. 14-31st: $1,000 Bond.

When is the deadline?

To qualify, all entries must be submitted to a sponsoring VFW Post by November 1.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has again approved this contest for its National Advisory List of Contests and Activities.

How does the contest work?

The contest consists of four levels. The first level (entry) is sponsored by local VFW Posts. Post winners advance to the VFW District (regional) level where the one first-place winner isadvanced to the VFW Department (state) level. The one first-place winner at the Department level is then advanced into the VFW National competition. The winner from each Department (state) then competes for the national prizes.

How do I get started?

• Ask a teacher or youth group/club adult leader to supervise the Patriot’s Pen writing competition.

• Contact a local VFW Post and indicate your interest in participating.

• Establish a contact person who is a member of that VFW Post or its Ladies Auxiliary.

• Make sure that your essay is submitted to the VFW Post before the contest deadline of Nov. 1.

Who can enter?

Nationally, Patriot’s Pen is open to 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students enrolled in public, private or parochial schools in the U.S., its territories or its possessions.  Home-schooled students also are eligible.  Dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools can participate too.   (Foreign exchange students and former winners that placed in the National finals are excluded from the contest.)  VFW Post 7539 is limiting itself to receive entries from those students living in or going to school in Bloomingdale, Roselle, or Medina, Illinois.

How am I judged?

You will be judged on how well you understand, develop and present the theme. A positive approach is recommended to express your viewpoint.  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.    2015-2016 Theme: “What Freedom Means to Me”

What are the rules?

• Essay length: 300-400 words.

• You must write your own essay.

• All essays should be typewritten in English with no color or graphics and cannot be less than 300 words or greater than 400 words in length. (Essays under or over these word amounts will be eliminated.) Every word is counted regardless of length. The essay title (theme) or added footnotes do not contribute to the word count.

Deadline — The completed essay and entry form must be in the hands of the VFW Post Chairman by midnight Nov. 1.  Post 7539 Patriot Pen Chairman is
Mike Lopez, tel:  630 582-7404 (evenings), 40 Castlerock Lane, Bloomingdale, IL  60108. 
Winner of the VFW 7539 Post prize will receive a check for $100. 

Contestants may not identify themselves, their school, city or state in their essay. Do not put your name on your essay. The entry form is your essay’s cover sheet. Secure the Official Student Entry Form with a staple or other fastener on top of your essay. Essays must be written exclusively for this competition.  Use of the same essay for other competitions will result in disqualification. Contestants are allowed to enter only once (one Post competition).  Contestants found in violation of this rule will face elimination from the competition and will be required to return any and all prize money awarded or received.  The essay must be a contestant’s original work and a product of the contestant’s own thinking. The approach to the Patriot’s Pen theme should be positive and clearly focused. Poetry is not acceptable. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified wherever used. A contestant’s teacher, counselor or parent may check the essay for punctuation, grammar and/or spelling, but the content must remain the contestant’s. Contestants will be judged on the basis of their essay alone and are not required to present the essay orally. All essays become the property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW retains non-exclusive rights to use your essay and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization’s programs and activities.  Note: All entries must be submitted to a VFW Post competition.  If you have difficulty identifying a sponsoring Post in your area, call the Patriot’s Pen national office at: (816) 756-3390, ext. 220 or e-mail:

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.”  Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

VFW website link:

Our 2007-2008 Patriot Pen Winners:  Pauline R. DeJesus (St Matthew), Zak Cain Nixon (St Matthew), and
            Kaitlyn E.D. Kesler (Trinity Lutheran).
Our 2008-2009 Winners:  Justin Fehr, Cassidy Henshaw, Rachel Pudell (Trinity Lutheran)
Our 2009-2010 Winners:  1st Place:  Elizabeth B Arco, Branson R Paul, Colleen H. Ochab
                                             2nd Place:  Erica E. Baltmazar, Darcey A Wilkinson, Cassidy J. Henshaw
                                             (All of Trinity except Colleen Ochab of St. Walters)
Our 2010-2011 Winners:
Monica K Van Duyne of St. Walters, Kelsey L Kaufmann & Cassidy J Henshaw of Trinity Lutheran
Our 2011-2012 Winners:   Allison M Spencer of Roselle Middle School, Grace E Horgan of Trinity Luthern School, & Nicholas J Kavouris of St Walters School
Our 2012-2013 Winners:  Morgan E Kelly of Trinity Lutheran; Madeline E Derango of St Walters; Isabela Sansone of St Isidore   "What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers"
Our 2013-2014 Winners:  Christine D Fasana of St Walters; Jacob P Ebert of Trinity Lutheran; Josephine M Belliveau of St Isidore 
"What Patriotism Means to Me"
                                       Post nominated Ms Claire Adachi, teacher from St Walters, for the national citizenship education Teacher Award.
Our 2014-2015 Winners:  Marisa M. Vandini of St Walters; Natalie V. Kuchler of St Isidore; Mikayla A. Brown of Trinity Luthern
“Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans”
Our 2015-2016 Winners:  Includes you?  

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