Scholar’s App

VFW - Patriot's Pen - Tennessee - District 7 - Post 4969

Recruiting for more applications!

Awards up to


Deadline: October 31, 2023

Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. We invite you to join the more than 73,000 students who participated last year in this contest.

What Is the Theme?

VFW's Commander-in-Chief annually chooses the year's theme.

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

The contest consists of four levels. The first level (entry) is sponsored by VFW Posts. Post winners advance, one for every 15 entries, to the VFW District (regional) level where the one first-place winner is advanced to the VFW Department (state) level. The first-place winner at the Department level is then advanced into the VFW national competition.

Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, State and National level. Department (State) winners receive a portion of $55,000 in national awards. National Winners will receive at least $500. The first-place national award is currently $5,000.

Post Awarding: $100.00

All entries are submitted at the Post level. Contestants are allowed to enter only once each year if otherwise eligible (one Post competition)


**Patriot’s Pen is open to 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private or parochial schools in the U.S., its territories or its possessions; or dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools. Home-schooled students also are eligible. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence (the application which has not been denied) and intends to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law. (Foreign exchange students or former winners that placed in the National contest are ineligible.)

Contest Rules:
  • You must write your own essay. The essay must be the contestant's original work and product of the contestant's own thinking.
  • Use of ChatGPT or other AI tools is not allowed.
  • Essays should be typed in English with no color or graphics. 300 - 400 words in length (+ or - 5 words max). Every word is counted.
  • In no way may the contestants identify themselves within their essay (including, but not limited to, your name, school, city, state, race or national origin.)
  • Do not put your name on your essay

Judging Criteria:
  • Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points: You must show a thorough knowledge of the theme in your work. Demonstrate that 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.