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VFW seeks student essays

Hastings students have the opportunity to earn some cash awards and advancement for their writing.

For almost 70 years, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has been sponsoring a scholarship essay competition, which has given almost $3.2 million in awards. Lyle Russell Post 1210 of Hastings challenges individual and home-based school students for first, second, third and fourth place awards, along with post and community recognition. The post winner will progress to district and department competition and get a chance to win a share in additional educational scholarships, along with an invitation to speak at the community’s Memorial Day observance.

“This scholarship competition provides our youth in the Hastings Public School District area with encouragement and a better understanding and appreciation for our great country by fostering patriotism,” said Commander Louis Plevell, Jr. “This program has been popular and successful since its beginning by allowing youth to exhibit democratic ideas and principles and articulate freedom and democracy.”

The Voice of Democracy provides a chance for students to explain “My Responsibility to America.” The Voice of Democracy competition is a three- to five-minute audio essay competition open to students in grades nine through 12. The national winner will receive a $1,000 through $30,000 “T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award,” paid directly to the recipient’s university, college or vocational/technical school and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.

The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to students in grades six through eight. Students are invited to write a 300- to 400-word essay concentrating on the statement, “ The America I Believe In.” The national winner receives a $5,000 award.

Student participants are asked to submit their entry (along with a completed entry form) to their school coordinator after the start of school (Sept. 6), and before Nov. 1. They will, in turn, forward them to Lyle Russell VFW Post 1210 for post/community judging. A classroom photograph will be requested upon selection.

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 combat 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’ service, legislative advocacy and military programs throughout the world.

Interested teachers. students and parents can view previous winner submissions and obtain additional information by visiting or contacting Dean W. Markuson, the local VFW youth development coordinator, at or 651-438-2208.