VFW has three student, teacher scholarship opportunities available


GOSHEN COUNTY – Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has three student, teacher scholarship opportunities. It is encouraging Goshen County School District (GCSD) administrators and students to apply from the elementary through high school levels.

‘The Patriot's Pen’ 6-8th grade essay

The first VFW opportunity, The Patriot’s Pen Program, is a VFW-sponsored youth essay competition open to sixth, seventh and e students enrolled by the October 31 deadline in a public, private or parochial school; homeschool students are also eligible to participate. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent U.S. residence, otherwise, applications will be denied. Foreign exchange students and former winners who placed in the National contest are ineligible.

Students are encouraged to ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise progress in the competition. Essays must be turned in to Goshen County VFW Paul A. Johnston Post 2918, 925 W. 25th Ave., Torrington, (307) 532-4996, before the end of the day on or before Halloween night.

Districts and schools are encouraged to have their own essay contest and selection process prior to submitting essays to the VFW, however, it is not a requirement and the contest is open to all sixth through e students. Students and/or teachers interested in participating are also encouraged to contact Goshen County’s VFW Post to indicate interest in participating to ensure essays meet requirements and are not overlooked. Goshen County VFW leadership in Torrington will send approved entries to the VFW Wyoming Headquarters if selected as a state winner – any entries sent directly to the VFW National Headquarters will be directly returned to senders. Wyoming VFW leaders will then send state winners to the VFW National Headquarters.

Wyoming winners will receive a portion of the $55,000 in national awards. Each state will have at least one state winner sent to the national competition, where all national winners will receive at least $500 and f at the national competition will be awarded $5,000.

This year’s theme is, ‘My Pledge to Our Veterans.’

Students who enter will be judged in three categories:

  • Knowledge of the theme: up to 30 points will be awarded if students show a thorough knowledge of the theme and demonstrate they have researched the topic extensively;
  • Theme development: up to 35 points will be awarded if students answer all relevant facts about the theme, such as who, what, where, when and why as it relates to their own unique experiences;
  • Clarity of ideas: up to 35 points will be awarded for easy-to-understand format, clarity and flow that leaves a reader with a clear understanding of the student's explanation of the theme.

Goshen County VFW leadership left a handful of applications with GCSD board members at its Aug. 9 school board meeting, however, students interested in entering can also email VFW National Headquarters at [email protected], visit the local VFW office in Torrington, or by visiting the VFW’s national website at www.VFW.org to ask for an application.

The ‘Voice of Democracy’ 9-12 grade essay

The second opportunity available for high school students in grades nine through twelfth grade, titled ‘Voice of Democracy’, is also a VFW-sponsored youth essay competition open to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students enrolled by the October 31 deadline in a public, private or parochial school; homeschool students are also eligible to participate. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent U.S. residence, otherwise, applications will be denied. Foreign exchange students, students over 20 years old, previous ‘Voice of Democracy’ first-place state winners, GED or Adult Education Students and former winners who placed in the National contest are ineligible.

Students are encouraged to ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise progress in the competition. Essay’s must be turned in to Goshen County VFW Paul A. Johnston Post 2918, 925 W. 25th Ave., Torrington, (307) 532-4996, before the end of day on or before Halloween night.

Districts and schools are encouraged to have their own essay contest and selection process prior to submitting essays to the VFW, however, it is not a requirement and the contest is open to all sixth through eighth grade students. Students and/or teachers interested in participating are also encouraged to contact Goshen County’s VFW Post to indicate interest in participating to ensure essays meet requirements and are not overlooked. Goshen County VFW leadership in Torrington will send approved entries to the VFW Wyoming Headquarters if selected as a state winner – any entries sent directly to the VFW National Headquarters will be directly returned to senders. Wyoming VFW leaders will then send state winners to the VFW National Headquarters.

Prizes and scholarships, in an undetermined amount, will be awarded to Post, District, Wyoming and national levels. State winners will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to tour the city, be honored by the VFW and its Auxiliary as well as receive a portion of the $156,000 in national awards; the first-place winner will be awarded a $30,000 scholarship.

This year’s theme is: ‘Why is the Veteran important?’.

Students interested in participating will be asked to record an original three to five minute audio essay on a flash drive, or other electronic device; students are only allowed a five second window under three minutes or over five minutes. Students must also be the sole author, recorded in their own voice and in English; hearing/speech and vision imparied students interested in participating should email the national office at [email protected] for specialized instructions on how to participate and submit their ‘Voice of Democracy’ audio essays.

Students are not allowed to use music, singing, poetry or sound effects in their audio essay’s; the body of the essay must not identify the student, including but not limited to name, school, city, state, race or national origin, but should be clearly labeled with identifying information when turned into the VFW.

Like the first essay contest, the ‘Why is the Veteran important?’ is also open to all ninth through twelfth grade students, however, if schools/classes/youth groups have large numbers of students wishing to participate, those organizations are asked to hold its own contest and selection process prior to October 31, and select one winner out of every 15 students who participated before turning in the selected winners to the local VFW office.

Entries need to be submitted directly to the Goshen County VFW in Torrington no later than Halloween night.

Students who enter will be judged in three categories:

  • Originality: up to 30 points will be awarded in terms of how students show imagination and human interest in the treatment of the theme;
  • Content: up to 35 points will be awarded if students clearly express their ideas in an organized manner, fully develop the theme and use transitions to move smoothly from one idea to the next;
  • Delivery: up to 35 points will be awarded for students who speak in a clear and credible manner.

Goshen County VFW leadership left a handful of applications with GCSD board members at it’s Aug. 9 school board meeting, however, students interested in entering can also email VFW National Headquarters at [email protected], visit the local VFW office in Torrington, or by visiting the VFW’s national website at www.VFW.org to ask for an application.

Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education elementary, middle and high school teachers

The third and final scholarship opportunity is open to all GCSD, Wyoming educators in K-12 education called the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher award for elementary, middle and high school educators.

Teacher essays should be turned into Goshen County VFW Paul A. Johnston Post 2918, 925 W. 25th Ave., Torrington, (307) 532-4996, before the end of day on or before January 1, 2023 to the post’s VFW Post Teacher Award Chairman. A winner from each grade level in the district will be selected from the local VFW to go to the state and national levels. However, schools with multiple teachers wanting to participate per grade level are asked to hold its own contest and selection process with a due date of November 15 at the district level; districts are then asked to submit one winner per each grade level in the district to the local VFW office on or before New Years Day.

Educators who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism are prime candidates for this scholarship opportunity. This opportunity is open to all current certified/licensed teachers in grades K-12, however, previous national winners are ineligible. Nominations can be submitted by themselves, fellow teachers, supervisors, family members and other interested individuals.

Teachers will be asked to provide a one-page resume as a minimum or up to five pages as a maximum of documentation of their teaching experience, such as references, new articles, etc., in addition to providing a head-and-shoulder photo of themselves.

This scholarship award specifically seeks to identify and recognize “America’s best educators who instill a sense of national pride in students.” The national awards include $1,000 Past Commander-in-Chief John Smart award for each of the K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 teachers for professional development expenses. Another $1,000 award for each winning teacher’s school will be awarded by the VFW in addition to commemorative plaques and an all-expenses-paid trip to the VFW National C.

Entries need to be submitted directly to the Goshen County VFW in Torrington no later than New Year’s Day.

Educators who enter will be judged in four categories:

  • Citizenship: up to 25 points will be awarded in terms of what extent does the teacher encourage and/or model good citizenship and community involvement;
  • Innovation: up to 25 points will be awarded to teachers who show innovation, such as new ideas, tools, resources and approaches, and how well the teacher utilizes them in the classroom. A question educators should consider addressing is ‘does this teacher’s effort reflect an ongoing desire to stimulate the students with new things?;
  • Resources: up to 25 points will be awarded for teachers regarding to what degree the teacher demonstrated an ability to identify and utilize new and exceptional resources to fund, facilitate and provide materials for his or her classroom. Teachers should consider addressing, does this teacher tap into outside agencies, organizations and individuals to acquire materials and expertise in the classroom, such as bringing in speakers, finding in-kind and monetary donations and/or utilizing local opportunities for field trips, museums and local events;
  • Passion: up to 25 points will be awarded to teachers who appear to be passionate about the profession of teaching as it relates to civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism for themselves, with their students in their classrooms and with the community.

Goshen County VFW leadership left a handful of applications with GCSD board members at its Aug. 9 school board meeting, however, teachers interested in entering can also email VFW National Headquarters at [email protected], visit the local VFW office in Torrington, or by visiting the VFW’s national website at www.VFW.org to ask for an application.

 

 

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