Patriot's Pen

Contest Closed for the year!


 Each year more than 165,400 students in grades 6-8 enter VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win a share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards.  Each first-place state winner receives a minimum of $500 and the national first place- winner $5,000, plus district and Post award. 

Our Department’s Patriot’s Pen winner Eva Kolomyski sponsored by Post and Auxiliary #9024 of Woodbury PLACED 3rd in the Nation in the Patriot’s Pen Contest winning a $3,500.00 Award. 

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences, by drafting a 300-400 word essay, expressing their views on a patriotic theme.  


The Patriot’s Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8 who are enrolled in a public, private, parochial school or home study program. 


Read rules and eligibility requirements.

Download entry form here

For more information contact Lake Minnetonka VFW Post coordinator:

Completed essay and entry form must be submitted by midnight October 31, 2022. 

Mail to: VFW Post#5919   24450 Smithtown Rd   Excelsior, MN 55331 

Or email to:


  •  Essay length: 300-400 typewritten words.
  • You must write your own essay.
  • All essays should be typewritten in English with no color or graphics and cannot be less than 300 words or greater than 400 words in length. Every word is counted regardless of length. The essay title (theme) or added footnotes do not contribute to the word count.

Contestants cannot identify themselves in their essay. Do not put your name on your essay. The entry form is your essay’s cover sheet. Secure the Official Student Entry Form with a staple or other fastener on top of your essay. Essays must be written exclusively for this competition. Use of the same essay for other competitions will result in disqualification. Contestants are allowed to enter only once (one Post competition).

 The essay must be a contestant’s original work and a product of the contestant’s own thinking. The approach to the Patriot’s Pen theme should be positive and clearly focused. Poetry is not acceptable. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified wherever used. A contestant’s teacher, counselor or parent may check the essay for punctuation, grammar and/or spelling. Contestants will be judged on the essay alone and are not required to present the essay orally. All essays become the property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW retains non-exclusive rights to use your essay and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization’s programs and activities.


Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points. You 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 your own experiences.

Clarity of ideas is worth 35 points. Write your essay in an easy-to-understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of your explanation of the theme.


Local Winners from Lake Minnetonka Post 5919 will receive:

1st Place - $300.00 + $100.00 to Teacher

2nd Place - $200.00

3rd Place - $100.00