03 Jan All Points Highlights VFW Youth Essay Contest
Cocoa Beach, FL – Each year, more than 165,400 students in grades 6-8 enter the Veteran of Foreign Wars’ (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, and at the national level, the 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. The 2021-22 theme was “How Can I Be a Good American?” Each local VFW hosts the competition within their community.
All Points’ Dr. Stephanie Sherby served as the Patriot’s Pen chairman for her VFW Post 10148’s essay competition. The local competition, held at the Cocoa Beach, FL post, awarded $250. This year’s winner was Lillie Jackson, a 7th grader at the Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School. Pictured with Lillie are her parents, the Jackson’s, Dr. Sherby, Terry Turner, and Don Reott, two officers of Post 10148. “I look forward to serving in this role again and working with the Cocoa Beach schools again,” said Dr. Sherby. “The VFW serves the community in so many ways, with a focus on veterans and youth. It is an honor to give back to the community in this way.” Dr. Sherby retired from the U.S. Army in the rank of Colonel.
The essays were judged on three areas: knowledge of the theme, theme development, and clarity of ideas. Although Lillie’s essay did not win at the next level of competition, it was a true example of scholarly writing. Lillie’s winning essay poignantly provided suggestions to Americans under voting age with ideas of how to volunteer to better their community.