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Pictured from left are Ryan Chowning, Liberty Middle School principal; Bill Gould, VFW Representative; Adison Burks ($10 Participants’ Prize); Leandra Shoup ($10 participant prize); Jaden Anderson (third place winner, $50 prize); Kal Acklin (second place winner, $75 prize); Savannah Lovorn (first place winner, $100 prize); and Jim Gould, VFW Mmember.

Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6 to 8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest: The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. 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. This year’s theme was Why I Honor the American Flag.

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