October 12, 2021

Teach Your Children to be Good Writers…and Patriots!  It’s Essay Season with the Veterans Service Organizations

By:  John Crowder

Parents, it’s up to you to teach your children to learn how to express themselves well when writing or speaking, and to become good Americans who love our country.  If you rely on the schools to accomplish these goals, it’s probably not going to happen.

Are there exceptions to this?  Sure, but they’re few and far between.  I can say this with certainty based on my two decades of experience owning and operating a private school in a county of one million people.  Our school, with only two dozen students, turned out three state champions and multiple students earning thousands of dollars in Veteran Service Organization (VSO) sponsored essay and speech contests in that county.  Sadly, the level of competition was dismal.

Good news, though.  You don’t need a school to ensure that your students learn important communication skills and to learn to support America and our Constitution.  You, as parents, can ensure this is accomplished.  Fortunately, the VSO sponsored contests provide a fantastic opportunity for students to develop important skills and a patriotic attitude…while winning thousands of dollars for their efforts.

With the start of school, we are now in Essay Season.  Four VSO’s have contests that are worth your while.  These are, in order of when the contests close, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), American Legion, and AMVETS.

Here’s a little about each one.

Deanna Judy for SD-25 School Board

VFW:  The VFW sponsors two contests, both have deadlines of October 31.

Patriot’s Pen, for students in grades 6-8, asks students to write a 300–400-word essay on a designated theme.  This year’s theme is, “How Can I be a Good American?”  Prizes are given at the local level and beyond, with the national winner receiving $5000.  Contact your local VFW post for details.  In Pocatello/Chubbuck contact VFW Post 735 through their Facebook page, here:  VFW post 735 | Facebook

Voice of Democracy, for students in grades 9-12, asks students to submit a 3–5-minute audio recorded speech, along with a written copy, on a designated theme.  This year’s theme is, “America:  Where do we Go from Here?”  Prizes are given at the local level and beyond, with the national winner receiving a $30,000 scholarship.  Contact your local VFW post for details.  In Pocatello/Chubbuck contact VFW Post 735 through their Facebook page, here:  VFW post 735 | Facebook

Idahospeaks.com, protecting Freedom of Speech for Conservatives in Idaho

FRA:  The FRA sponsors an annual Americanism Essay Contest for students in grades 7-12.  Students compete in each grade level, so there are lots of chances to win.  Submit an essay of 350 words or less on this year’s topic, “Why I am Proud to be an American.”  Essays are due on or before December 1st.  Contact Roger Christopher at 208-794-6637 for more information.

American Legion:  The American Legion sponsors an annual Oratorical Competition.  It requires students in grades 9-12 to give a speech, from memory, on the Constitution, with an emphasis on the responsibilities of Americans.  The contest is usually scheduled in the first half of January at the local level.  Contact your local American Legion Post for details.  In Pocatello/Chubbuck contact American Legion Post 4 through their Facebook page, here: American Legion Post 4, Pocatello Idaho | Facebook or email John Crowder at jcrowder27@hotmail.com


AMVETS:  AMVETS sponsors contests for children in grades K-12.  For grades K-1 students color and answer questions about the American flag.  For grades 2-5 students create a poster.  For grades 6-12 students write an essay.  All contests are on a selected theme, this year’s theme being, “Why Should we Honor and Respect our Veterans?”  Cash prizes, certificates, plaques, and gift cards are awarded to winners at different levels, and entries are typically due at the local level in early April.  In Eastern Idaho, contact John Crowder at jcrowder27@hotmail.com for more information.

Again, parents, take advantage of these great opportunities to help put your children on the road to success!  Follow (i.e., “like”) the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer on Facebook to see more articles like this and to be notified when new articles are posted on these and other great opportunities for students.

Editor’s Note:  Before moving to Idaho, John Crowder, Publisher of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer, owned and operated a private Christian school for two decades.





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