TAYLOR COUNTY—One local youth has been recognized for her patriotism, after earning the attention of judges of this year’s Patriot’s Pen contest.
Each year, students from across the nation take part in competition held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary.
And while the contest remains the same, each year, the theme changes. This year’s theme was, “How can I be a good American?,” and, according to Polly Forman, VFW Post 3081 Auxiliary Scholarship Chairman, six Taylor County Middle School students put pen to paper to share their ideas.
The essays were submitted at the county level first, and after judging, eight grader Kaylee Cross was named as the 2021-22 Taylor County Patriot’s Pen winner.
Forman then submitted Cross’s essay for judging at the state level and is proud to report that the young writer’s ideas made a lasting impact on those who read it.
“I am proud to announce that Kaylee’s essay earned fourth place for the entire state of West Virginia,” Forman expressed. “We are just so very proud of her!”
Forman, along with VFW Post 3081 Auxiliary President Brenda Thompson and Post 3081 Commander Scott Bittner were on hand to present Cross with a trophy and other tokens of their appreciation.
Thompson pinned the VFW Auxiliary Department’s Theme Pin on Cross, while Bittner presented her with the State Commander’s Pin.
“Again, we are just so proud of you. We just want to thank you for entering our contest his year” Forman voiced. “You’re in eighth grade now, but that means that you’ll be ninth grade and at the high school and can take part in our Voice of Democracy Contest next year!”
The Patriot’s Pen Contest is open to any students throughout the county that are enrolled in public or public schools, as well as those youths that learn through homeschooling, and according to Forman, all students are invited and encouraged to participate.
“You don’t have to have a connection to the VFW to take part in these programs,” explained Forman. “Any and all students can enter these contests for a chance to earn some money toward schooling.”
The Patriot’s Pen Contest offers an opportunity for middle school students to express their views on an annual patriotic theme.
Open to sixth, seventh and eighth grades, participants can tie together America’s past with modern-day experiences, as they express their views in a 300-400-word essay.
Each year, over 138,000 students compete in the contest, in hopes of becoming the national winner, receiving a $5,000 all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state advances on to the national competition and will earn a minimum of $500 at that level.
Applications will be available at Taylor County Middle School and interested students should visit the counselor’s office to pick up their entry forms.
Submissions must be made no later than October 31, and may be turned in to VFW Post 3081, located at 225 West Main Street, Grafton.