Each year more than 68,000 students in grades 6-8 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. Want to apply? Read the rules and eligibility requirements and download the entry form and brochure before submitting your entry to your local VFW Post. 

Department of Arizona Patriot's Pen Program Chair
Tim Ogden Post 9400

The 2023-2024 theme is: 
"How Are You Inspired by America?"

Deadlines for Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen
October 31, Student entries to the Post
November 15, Completion of Post judging
December 15, Completion of District judging
January 10, Completion of Department judging
January 15, District participation reports due to Department Chairmen
January 15, Department winners due to National
January 31, Department reports due to National