By Holly DeCarlo-White
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars conducts a national essay contest for middle school students called the Patriot’s Pen Essay Competition.
This year’s second place winner hails from Patch Middle School.
Former PMS student, Cassandra Soeldner, was selected out of 54 national finalists in the 2016 National Patriot’s Pen Contest title. Finalists represent each state, the District of Columbia, Pacific areas, Europe and Panama Canal.
The program just finished its 21st year and encourages youth to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, challenging sixth to eighth grade student entrants to write a 300-400 word essay on a patriotic theme. “What Freedom Means to Me” was the theme for 2015-2016 chosen by the VFW commander-in-chief.
“It was reported that over 130,000 essays were submitted to local VFW Posts,” said Joe Holder, Patriots Pen/Voice of Democracy chairman and senior vice commander of VFW Post 10810 in Stuttgart, Germany. “At the beginning of November [our post] received 138 Patriot’s Pen essays from students attending Patch Middle School and several home school students.”
Of the 138 entries, only the top nine advanced to the District level. Soeldner finished fifth locally and first at the VFW District 1, and Department of Europe, making her one of the 54 national finalists.
Click here to read her essay.
Soeldner, who has since relocated to Washington, was the recipient of a $4,000 VFW National Patriot’s Pen Award. With national awards totaling $50,500.
The Patriot’s Pen program is open to students in grades 6 to 8 at the time of the entry deadline on Nov. 1, 2016. Students must be enrolled in a public, private or parochial school or home study program in the United States and its territories.
The 2016 contest theme is: “America I Believe In.”
HOW TO ENTER:
Click here to access the Patriot’s Pen 2016-17 entry form and brochure.