Evanston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7186 sponsors two scholarship programs: The Patriot’s Pen contest is for middle school students and Voice of Democracy is for high school students.
The VFW competitions are nationwide, and winners at the local level can advance to regional, state and national levels. The programs have a long history of benefiting students financially. In 2020, the two contests awarded more than $2.9 million to students across the U.S.
But Post 7186 also highlights a value to the competitions beyond the monetary awards. The post said it heard from a middle school teacher who incorporated the Patriot’s Pen program into the social studies curriculum and noted “there is a lot of evidence that students benefit from writing to a real audience and for an actual purpose. … I see it as an opportunity for my students academically and as critical thinkers.”
“Last year the members of Evanston Post 7186 read and listened to those essays and voices,” the local post wrote in a letter to Evanston teachers seeking student entries. “We realized that in this stressful moment what our students said was historic. It was reflected in their words. It would be an understatement to say we were heartened by the diversity of their thought and expression.”
Coverage of last year’s program was in the Evanston RoundTable. To learn more about this year’s competition, including themes, prizes and deadlines, visit the following VFW sites:
• Patriot’s Pen (for middle school students)
• Voice of Democracy (for high school students)