Each year, nearly 68,800 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000!
The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. Before submitting your essay, read the rules and eligibility requirements, and find your sponsoring local VFW Post as applications must be turned in by midnight, Oct. 31. Download and complete the 2022-2023 entry form here.
About the 2021-2022 winner ...
Syed Ali, an eighth grade student from Lafayette, Louisiana, was named the 2021-2022 Patriot's Pen first place winner. His essay on the theme, "How Can I Be a Good American?" won him a $5,000 award. Syed was sponsored by New Iberia, Louisiana, VFW Post 1982.
Watch as Syed delivered his winning essay, during the VFW's virtual Parade of Winners streamed live on Facebook, or see the complete list of 2022 national winners.