2023-2024 PATRIOT’S PEN ESSAY PROGRAM
"How are you Inspired by America?”
information pertaining to the theme, judging, eligibility, awards, and other
aspects of this program are contained in the Veterans of Foreign Wars program
booklet for the Annual Patriot’s Pen Essay Program. District Commanders are responsible to
ensure that their District Chairman are conducting their programs within these
rules and deadlines. District Commanders
are solely responsible for the conduct of the programs within their
Districts. Make sure that copies of
this program are distributed to all the Posts within your District in
sufficient time to ensure that there is a successful competition.
Patriot’s Pen Essay program is a joint program with the VFW Auxiliary to the
Veterans of Foreign Wars of Michigan. The Auxiliary does not need the permission of a Post to participate in
the program. Post and District Chairman
are expected to include their VFW Auxiliary Counterparts in all activities
concerning the conduct of the local and District programs. Coordination of the District program is the
responsibility of the District Commanders and District Chairman. Post Chairman must refer to their District
program for the program requirements and deadlines.
Judging the Contest
suggested number of judges is five to nine, with a minimum of three. Judges should be from outside your Posts and
Auxiliaries and should represent your community. Judges must not in any way be connected to
the students in the competition. Set the
date for your judging and invite the judges at least 60 days in advance. Remind them a week before the competition
with a letter or email, and two days before with a phone call.
Seventh, and Eighth Grade students in public, private, parochial, and home
schools in the State of Michigan. Former
first place winners at the State and National level of competition or any
Foreign Exchange students are not eligible. Students do not have to be relatives of a member of the Veterans of
Foreign Wars or its VFW Auxiliary to participate.
must be typed, or computer printed in English, between 300-400 words, on a
single sheet of paper, with no added color or art.
receive credit for participation in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Competition, a Post
must sponsor the program in their community. While it is important to offer the Patriot’s Pen Essay Program in our
schools, it is not solely a program for the schools. You may offer the competition to any sixth, seventh,
or eighth grade student. All entries
must be submitted directly to the Post. They may be sponsored through local schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts,
Church youth groups, Junior ROTC programs, the home schooled, etc. Posts are encouraged to solicit participants
from as many sources as possible. The
Post will hold their own judging and may submit to the District the number of
students permitted by the following:
Participants: 1 Top Post entry is allowed
to advance to District.
Participants: 2 Top Post entries are
allowed to advance to District.
Participants: 3 Top Post entries are
allowed to advance to District, etc.
Note: No Limit
may advance as many winners as they select based on the total number of
students participating. Post judging is
the responsibility of the Post Chairman and must be conducted in accordance
with the National Judging Criteria. The
Post may forward each first-place winning entry to the District. Each student entry submitted by a Post to the
District must be an equal first place winner. This means that each Post student entry must receive the same
award. For example, a Post has
fifty-five student entries and is eligible to send four entries to the District
for judging. Those four entries must
each receive an equal first place award from the Post. If the Post lists them as first, second,
third and fourth place, then they can only send in one entry as the first-place
winner. Note: First place Post winner’s entry packets must
include a completed Student Biographical Questionnaire and School Release Form
when sent to the District. Post packets
will not be accepted unless complete.
School/Youth Group Competition Alternatives
offer teachers/youth leaders the option to use the Patriot’s Pen as a writing
exercise. The teacher/leader may submit
all the entries to the Post for judging or conduct a judging within the group
or class and advance a winner for every fifteen participants as shown above. Note: The Post Chairman should make this decision working closely with the
teacher or group leader.
District shall be responsible for the conduct of the program and judging of
entries within their District. District Chairman
are expected to promote the expansion of the program by encouraging the
participation of additional Posts. It is
not always possible to restrict sponsorship strictly along VFW District
Boundaries. Posts may solicit student
participation from any geographical area within the State of Michigan if they
do not interfere with the sponsorship of other Posts. District Chairman are expected to assist
Posts in the coordination of sponsorship of all schools in the District. It is unacceptable that a school is not
contacted. Each District may submit only
one entry to the Department for judging. This entry must be certified on the proper National Entry Form by the
District Chairman to be the District First place winner of the District Program
Judging. The following items MUSTaccompany the District Entry to the Department for Judging:
One Student Essay
in accordance with the above rules.
student entry from the National Program Booklet.
A quality head
and shoulder photograph, wallet size only.
One typed copy of
the student’s essay.
Student Release Form (Link below).
One Student Biographical
Questionnaire (Link below) must accompany your District Winner.
is the responsibility of District Chairman to ensure that all materials are
included. Any entry that does not
include all the required above items may not be judged.
obtain program credit the Post Chairman portion of the Student Entry Form must
be completed and submitted to the District with each Post entry. The form must include the number of students
participating from the school and the approximate cost for the program and
awards. Proper credit cannot be given
without this information. District
Chairman are required to submit a consolidated report of Post participation
within their District using the District Report form and the District Summary
Form. The reports MUST accompany
the District Entry to Department. It is
the responsibility of the Post, District, and Department Adjutants to input
the Patriot’s entries into the All-American Dashboard. This is to include all monetary values spent
on this event. Failure to do so can
cause the Post, District, and/or Department to show a NOT MET in this category.
deadline for Post sponsored entries is October 31, 2023. Post judging may not be held before November
1, 2023, and must be completed in time to ensure that winning entries are
delivered to the District Chairman by November 16, 2023. District
judging may not be held before November 16, 2023, and must be completed in
time to ensure that the winning entry with all required materials are in the
hands of the Department Director by December 16, 2023. The Department deadline for District entries
is December 16, 2023. This
deadline is absolute, and it includes all paperwork. Department judging will be closed and will be
the responsibility of the Department Committee. Please be advised that the state judging will be attended only by the
VFW Department Committee members, VFW State Auxiliary Committee members, and
the State Judges. The Committee has the
authority to disqualify from the Department judging any entry which is in
violation of the rules as stated in the Department Program and the National
Post and District awards are the responsibility of those organizations. Department awards will be presented at the
2024 Department of Michigan Mid-Winter Conference. All District winners are expected to be present. Each District must assume the cost of their
winner’s transportation, meals, and lodging. Department will provide each District winner with one banquet
ticket. Banquet tickets for family
members and other guests are the sole responsibility of the District in
cooperation with the sponsoring Post.
Michael Martin, Director
East 34th St, Apt 2
Denise Arnold, Auxiliary Chair
E River Rd
Pleasant MI 48858