I realize I do a blog post on this essay contest every year, but I feel it’s important to support our veterans. Also, your students can win a savings bond if they win the contest. (Our local chapter always gives them a hundred dollars CASH money, which is an even better motivation than a savings bond, but that’s not the case nation-wide.)
So here’s a link to the VFW’s patriotic essay contest, which is called “Voice of Democracy” for high school students and “Patriot’s Pen” for middle schoolers.
This year’s essay prompt for the Voice of Democracy contest is “Why I’m Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.” Good luck getting your kids to spell “optimistic” correctly on that one! (You’ll want to write it on the board and/or give everybody a sticky note on which to write the word correctly spelled!)
This year’s Patriot’s Pen essay prompt is “What Patriotism Means to Me.” It seems like we had one like this a couple of years ago, and my bilingual students had a tough time understanding the abstract concept of patriotism. It’s not that they weren’t patriotic toward the US; it’s just that the word “patriotism” is sort of a hard concept to understand when you’re learning English.
It’s also tough to come up with original themes for the essays. One way to help kids brainstorm ideas is to have them use a spider web.
Best of luck to all the contestants!