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VFW Announces its 2010-11 Youth Essay Programs
GA VFW District 2 Educational Program Chairman
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As the VFW's Youth Essay Program Chairman for the 2nd District of the State of Georgia, I figure that I would start getting out the word early, in hopes that the parents of your local students, who will be in the 6th through 12th grades in the 2010-2011 school year, will be receptive to and work with their Home School Associations, Private Schools and the Public School District in Dawson County has been of wanting to have their children compete in nationwide educational contests. These contests are sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) and the VFW's Department of Georgia, The Department's 2nd District and VFW Post and Auxiliary # 9143 (located on Highway 9 in Cumming). With the students going to have an immense amount of free time over the next six months it would be an excellent time for them to try to win some money or a scholarship for their future.

Let me go into each of the Programs separately:

The Patriot's Pen Essay Contest gives Middle School (6th - 8th Grade) students the opportunity to express their opinion on a different annual patriotic theme while working on improving their theme development and writing skills, while they compete for worthwhile awards and prizes. Department (State) winners compete for $91,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds at the national level with the winner receiving a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond in Washington, D.C. in April each year. The students are to write a 300-400 typewritten word essay on a subject that is published each spring for the upcoming year.
The 2010-2011 Patriot's Pen Theme is "Does Patriotism Still Matter?"

Created in 1947, the Voice of Democracy scholarship competition is a nationwide audio essay contest which High School Students write and then record a 3-5 minute (+/- 5 seconds) broadcast script on a different annual patriotic theme, competing for more than $3 million in total college scholarships and incentives. Department (State) winners are brought to Washington, D.C., in April to enjoy our nation's capital and compete for $148,000 in scholarships - first place receiving a $30,000 scholarship. The 2010-2011 Voice of Democracy Theme is "Does My Generation Have a Role in America’s Future?"

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed these programs on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2010-2011.

Every Middle and High School in Dawson County will be given entry brochures once school starts (in the fall), which contains the official rules for the submission of entries. This competition is open to ALL Students in Dawson County (Public School, Private School and Home Schooled). If you need an entry form and you attend any of the Schools in Dawson County, you can wait and see your school's Language Arts Department chairperson, or you can obtain the entry forms, that can be filled out and printed, online at the following web addresses:
Patriot's Pen:
"http://www.vfw.org/resources/pdf/PP Entry Form.pdf"

Voice of Democracy:
"http://www.vfw.org/resources/pdf/VOD Entry Form.pdf"

All entries need to be submitted through your student's School or Home School Association, which needs to do a preliminary judging of the entries and forward one entry for every fifteen or part thereof to VFW Post 9143 before November 1st. Entries submitted after that date will not be accepted and disqualified, as will any entry that fail to meet the minimum or exceeds the maximum limits as listed above for length. This is not to punish the students work, but it is to ensure that the entries are uniform in length and allows for timely judging and forwarding of the winners to the next level of competition.

I hope that you will engage your children to participate in the competitions, and you will push your child's school to participate in these worthwhile programs as it promotes creative writing, theme development, writing principles and, for Voice of Democracy entrants, public speaking skills while promoting patriotism in our children.

Michael McMahon
District 2 Youth Essay Chairman
Department of Georgia
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

Latest Activity: Dec 14, 2010 at 12:49 AM

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MPMcMAHON commented on Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010 at 17:41 PM

August 10 Update: As of the 1st of August I have personally visited all of Dawson County's Public Middle and High Schools as well as War Hill Christian Academy and met with an administrator about the programs and hand delivered the student brochures. All of the Principals were quite enthusiastic with the inclusion of Dawson County into the Program, so I am expecting a very good year. I have not been able to get a hold of the Local Home School Association, so if you belong to a Home School Association and want to participate, email me at district_2@mcmahon-ga.net, and I will email you a brochure.

MPMcMAHON commented on Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 at 00:49 AM

I am pleased to announce the results from the 2010-2011 VFW Youth Essay Programs for Dawson County.

In the Patriot's Pen, I had the best turnout from a single school in the 6 years I have been involved with the Patriot's Pen Program. From Dawson County Middle School I received 27 Entries, which leads me to understand that at least 390 students participated in that school, which is astounding. Unfortunately I did not receive any Patriot's Pen entries from either Riverview Middle or Hightower Academy, but being this was the first year that the program was offered to Dawson County, I feel that next year will be much better. Now With that said the Post Level Winners from Dawson County are:
1st Place: Joseph Carlisle - D.C.M.S.
2nd Place: Michaela Lithurland - D.C.M.S.
3rd Place: Celeste Chism - D.C.M.S.

At the District 2 Judging, Mr. Carlisle also took first place and his entry has been forwarded to the GA VFW State Chairman for judging in the statewide judging, where the state winner will be forwarded to the National Judging Pannel, where the ultimate winner will receive a $10,000 US Savings Bond.
Congratulations Joseph and Good Luck in the State Judging! To all Middle School Students in the upcoming 2011-12 school year, the topic should be available by February and I will post it to the Dawson Community News School Blog as soon as I receive the topic.

Unfortunately, I did not receive a single entry in the Voice of Democracy Audio Essay Program, but I hope that in 2011-12 that will change and D.C.H.S. and Hightower Academy will have entries into the Voice of Democracy. Like for the Patriot's Pen; to all High School Students for the 2011-12 school year, I will post the 2011-12 Topic to the Dawson Community News School Blog as soon as I get the topic. In case you were not aware, the national winner of the Voice of Democracy receives a $30,000 College Scholarship. So a chance to win a $30,000 scholarship for a well written and recorded 3-5 minute essay, is very well worth the time and effort.

I wish next years High School and Middle School Students the best of luck in crafting their essays and strongly recommend using some of your "free" time during the spring semester and your summer time to make your entry the best it can be, that way in the fall you won't have to rush to put together an entry.


Michael P McMahon
Education Programs Chairman
GA VFW District 2

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