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VFW essay contests open to students

Hastings students have the opportunity to earn some cash prizes for their writing. 

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) gives almost $3.2 million in awards every year through the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship competition. The Lyle Russell Post 1210 of Hastings will award approximately $1,700 to area youths, with $150, $100, $75, $50 and $25 prizes at each participating school along with a $50 post/community advancement to district and an invitation to speak at the community’s Memorial Day observance in May.

“This competition provides students in the Hastings Public School District to include parochial schools with an opportunity to speak out on freedom and democracy,” said Post Commander Don Latch. “This program has been popular and successful since its beginning and we’re proud to keep offering it to the students in our school district.”

This year’s Voice of Democracy theme asks students to explain, “Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.” The Voice of Democracy scholarship competition is a three- to five-minute audio essay competition open to students in grades 9 to 12. The national winner will receive the $30,000 T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award.

The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to students in grades 6-8. This year, students are invited to write a 300- to 400-word essay on the theme, “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.” The national winner will receive a $5,000 award.

Student participants are asked to submit their entry (along with a completed entry form) to their participating school (after the start of school Sept. 3), which in turn will forward them to Lyle Russell VFW Post 1210. A classroom photograph will be requested upon selection of post/community winner. The deadline for student entries in both contests is Nov. 1.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veterans’ organization composed of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve Forces.

Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and its oldest veterans’ organization with nearly 2 million VFW and Auxiliary members in more than 7,000 posts worldwide. The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans’ services, legislative advocacy and military programs throughout the world.

Interested teachers and students can obtain additional information at or contact the local coordinator, Dean Markuson, or at 651-438-2208.