The Veterans of Foreign Wars believes strongly in good citizenship and fostering patriotism. That’s why we encourage youthful minds to examine our nation’s history and their own experiences in modern American society through our Patriot’s Pen youth essay-writing contest. Each year more than 125,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $50,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300 to 400 word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.

Who can enter? The competition is open to students in grades 6-8, who are enrolled in public, private or 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 can participate too. (Foreign exchange students and former winners that placed in the National finals are excluded from the contest.)

What do students need to do to enter? Students submit a 300 – 400 word original essay on the theme listed below. See the rules for details.

The 2021-2022 theme is:  "How Can I Be A Good American?"

Read the rules and eligibility requirements

Download and complete the 2021 - 2022 Patriot's Pen entry form

Deadline: Submit your entry to a local VFW Post by October 31st.