GUERNSEY – The Guernsey VFW Post 4471 came bearing awards this past week, first at the high school and then at the weekly pancake breakfast at the VFW fellowship hall.
The writing contest, Patriot’s Pen, is a contest conducted nationwide. This VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives junior high students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. They invited students all over the nation to be a part of more than 138,000 students who participated last year in this contest.
This year’s theme was, “What is Patriotism to Me?”
Also available to high school students was the Voice of Democracy audio essay contest with this year’s theme, “Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned?”
For teachers, the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award Citations for Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers and their Schools was also available to local educators. Each year, the Veterans of Foreign Wars selects elementary, middle and high school teachers to participate in the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher program. Effective this year, the VFW Post Teacher Award Chairman may submit a candidate to their Department Headquarters by Jan. 1 in each category. The Department may select a single candidate for each of the three awards and submit those to VFW National Headquarters by Feb. 1. VFW’s Department Teacher winners that are received at National Headquarters will receive a VFW National citation for both the winning teacher and their school in each grade category.
“Patriot’s Pen is a writing contest,” said VFW Post commander Don Mack. “It’s for sixth, seventh and eighth graders, where they write on a given topic and it’s judged here in Guernsey at the district level. It then goes on to the state level for state judging. The Voice of Democracy is a three-to-five-minute speech given by the high school age students and this also goes through district and state judging. The state winners will have a chance to have their entries sent to the national contest judging. We were at Guernsey-Sunrise High School to pass out the District 5 awards.”
In Guernsey this year, there were two winners from Patriot’s Pen and one winner at the district level for the Voice of Democracy Contest and one award for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award.
Karen Wambach, who won the SMART/MAHER award also won the Department of Wyoming award which will be awarded this summer at the VFW state convention.
The winners of Patriot’s Pen were Josha Foggie (first place) who’s entry also made it to the state competition and Liberty White Bird who took third place in the competition. Alexis Elmore took third place in district 5 for her speech in the Voice of Democracy contest.
For their prizes, Foggie was awarded $100 while both girls each were awarded $50.
“I was surprised,” Foggie said when asked what he thought about his victory.
“My favorite part of what I wrote was about respecting the American Flag,” White Bird said. “I was surprised when I won, actually. I’m really bad at writing, but maybe I’ll continue to write.”
“It was a great honor to write about the country I’m fortunate enough to live in,” Elmore said. “My favorite part of my speech was when I flash back to standing up to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning and my favorite line of the pledge which is one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. My exact words were, ‘as I cover my heart and face the flag, I can’t help but smile as I’m sure our founding fathers would smile if they could see how beautiful the country they established has become.”