Above, from left, Redfield eighth grader Peyton Osborn, Northwestern sophomore Hailey Boekelheide and Northwestern eighth grader, Megan Nash, were the three local VFW Patriot's Pen and Voice of Democracy winners this year.
Patriot's Pen and Voice of Democracy local winners chosen
By Shiloh Appel
Patriot's Pen, a program sponsored by the VFW, has more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter essays every year. There are winners on local, state and national levels. According to the website www.vfw.org, students must submit a 300 to 400 word essay based on the patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. The national first-place winner receives $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
This year's Patriot's Pen theme was "America's Gift to My Generation." Following the theme, Redfield student Peyton Osborn began his winning essay with the famous quote by J.F. Kennedy, "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," and concluded his essay with the thoughts that his generation "needs to show reverence to the flag and our country, be thankful for everything that they have received, and be respectful to everybody, even if they are different."
Northwestern eighth grader Megan Nash's winning essay focused on the constitution.
"From the time America was founded, this country has been continually providing its imminent generations with a multitude of gifts. My generation, known as Generation Z, is one of these generations. Generation Z has received bountiful numbers of gifts from our forefathers and the large number of unrecognized others who assisted in America's establishment," writes Nash. "…Out of all these gifts, I believe the most important one is the Constitution of the United States of America."
Sophomore Hailey Boekelheide was the local winner of the 2017-2018 Voice of Democracy contest. The Voice of Democracy is an audio-essay program available to high school students. Students must write a speech and record it in order to enter the contest.
"Each year, nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter to win their share of $2.1million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program," states the Voice of Democracy website.
In Boekelheide's audio-essay, titled "American History: Our Hope for the Future," she covers topics such as dropping college enrollment, student loan debt, minimum wage and the current wage gap.
"Compassion is essential to the future," writes Boekelheide. "It is important to take notice of others and to see their struggles, so that we can work together to destroy those obstacles. My hope for America is my generation. I believe that we will conquer any struggle that is in our way. These topics are merely obstacles that we will overcome…"
The three winners were congratulated and awarded at the VFW meeting held Wednesday, Dec.13th, 2017 at the American Legion building in Redfield.