Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

VFW Post 5297 presents awards to student essayists

Submitted by Bill Tawater

On Dec. 20, at the J.C. Wendt Middle and Elementary School multi-purpose room, Wahkiakum Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5297 Commander Bill Tawater, Post Chaplain Dave Tutka, and Post member/School Superintendent Brent Freeman, presented certificates and cash awards to the winners of the 2023-2024 Youth Essays and Patriots Pen competition.

Youth essay winners

Third grade. First place: Jackson Carty ($100). Second place: Rachel McKay-Beach ($50). Third place: Shayne Hoven ($25). Fourth grade: First place: Naveah Mendez ($100). Second place: Phillip O'Malley ($50). Third place: Jarrett Aegerter ($25). 5th grade: First place: Gianna Marsyla ($100). Second place: Harper Hurley ($50). Third place: Keely Cothren ($25).

Patriots Pen

Sixth grade. First place: Alyssa McKay-Beach ($100). Second place: Colter Camp ($75). Third place: Theodore Sevold ($50). Seventh grade: First place: Steve Guitron ($100). Second place: Konner Reese ($75). Third place: David Toscano ($50). Eighth grade. First place: Joshua Moon ($100). Second place: Mayleonna Casey ($75). Third place: Olivia Joyner ($50).

A total of $1,200 was awarded.

Working alongside America's youth and instilling a sense of patriotism has always been a VFW priority. Each year local VFW posts hold three essay competitions, the Voice of Democracy for grade 9-12, the Patriots Pen for grades 6-8, and the Youth Essay for grade 3-5. Students write essays based on given patriotic themes and the essays are evaluated by members of the local community. Winners of the essay competition are recognized with certificates and cash awards.

First place Youth Essay winners compete up to the District 16 level. Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy winners compete up through District 16 and state levels and if successful, to the national level. At the National level, the first place Voice of Democracy winner receives a $35,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient's American university, college, or vocational or technical school. The first-place winner of each state VFW Department wins a scholarship of at least $1,000. Each national Patriots Pen winner receives $5,000 and a minimum of $500 at the state level. District cash awards are determined each year.

This year, fifty Youth essays and twenty-seven Patriots Pen essays were submitted and evaluated. No Voice of Democracy essays were submitted.

District awards will be presented on Jan. 6, 2024, at the Norse Hall, Puget Island, at noon.

State awards will be presented at the Washington State VFW mid-winter conference in Wenatchee on January 20, 2024. National awards will be presented in Washington D.C. in March 2024.


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