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Local student wins Patriots Pen Award
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Tessa Fry is pictured here with LaForrest Bodine and Pearl White. Fry was the winner of the Patriots Pen Award that is sponsored by VFW Post 3111 in Great Bend.

Many young students learn through their parents and grandparents what freedom is and what it means, not only to them but for every American. Some local students got the opportunity to express this in their own words.
These local students participated in the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest, a yearly contest that is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign War.
This year’s theme was “What Freedom Means To me.”
“These young men and young ladies wrote an essay and we are very proud of what they did,” Commander of VFW Post 3111 LaForrest Bodine said.
Four contestants from Central Kansas Christian Academy in Great Bend participated in the contest at the local level.
The winner was Tessa Fry, age 12 and a sixth grader.
Fry received an award, a medal and a $100 check from the VFW Post 3111.
The other three contestants were Nevaeh Thompson, Jaci Guthrie and Liberty March. These students were honorable mentions and received a certificate for their accomplishment.
The Patriot’s Pen contest starts at the local level throughout the state. One winners essay moves on to district and the winner from there goes to state level and the first place winner of the state goes on to compete at the national level.
The Contest
According to the VFW each year more than 125,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s 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.
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 Patriot’s Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8 who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial school or home study program in the United States and its territories.
The entry form for the upcoming 2016-17 contest will be available in early March 2016.
Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition. Then students can contact a local participating VFW Post and establish a contact person who is a member of that Post or its Auxiliary.
Essays must be no less than 300 words and cannot exceed 400 words. They should be submitted to the Post, along with the completed Patriot’s Pen entry form no later than the November 1 deadline.
Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points. Students 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 their own experiences.
Clarity of ideas is worth 35 points. Write the essay in an easy-to-understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of your explanation of the theme.
For more information contact your local VFW.