Open To All Veterans Of Foreign Conflicts

Patriot’s Pen Rules and Eligibility

What is the Patriot’s Pen?

Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. We invite you to join the more than 138,000 students who participated last year in this contest. The national winners will receive at least $500. The first place national award is currently $5,000.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has again approved this contest for its National Advisory List of Contests and Activities.

Who Can Enter

The Patriot’s Pen program is open to 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private, parochial school, or home study program in the U.S., its territories or its possessions. Dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools are also eligible to participate.

How To Enter

Download and complete the Patriot’s Pen entry form and brochure. Essays must be no less than 300 words and cannot exceed 400 words. They should be submitted to the VFW Post, along with the completed Patriot’s Pen entry form no later than the October 31 deadline. Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition.

Judging Criteria

Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points. You must show a thorough knowledge of the theme in your work. Demonstrate you have researched the issue extensively. Theme development is worth 35 points. Answer all relevant facts about the theme such as the who, what, where, when and why. Relate the theme to your own experiences. Clarity of ideas is worth 35 points. Write your essay in an easy-to- understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of your explanation of the theme.

Download and complete the Patriot’s Pen entry form and brochure.

View and Download Entry Form

View and Download Rules