Editor's Note: The following press release was submitted by Region 15.
Eighth grade students from Region 15’s middle schools submitted essays to the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars Patriot’s Pen writing contest, and two of those essays were selected by members of the Southbury-based George Newton VFW Post 1607 to go on to district judging.
The VFW Patriot's Pen is a nationwide writing competition that gives students the opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy. Annually, more than 115,000 students participate in the contest.
Students wrote a 300-400 word essay based on this year's patriotic theme: "What Would I Tell America’s Founding Fathers?" The essays are judged on theme development, clarity of ideas, and knowledge of the theme.
Rochambeau Middle School student Kira Burnham and Memorial Middle School student Marissa Matozzo won second and third place, respectively.
VFW Post 1607 sent nearly two dozen entries from Region 15 into the District contest because the post is allowed to send one entry to District for every 15 essays submitted.
RMS invited Larry Williams, VFW Post 1607's Patriot's Pen coordinator and Junior Vice Commander, and VFW Commander Peter D’Amato to their awards ceremony. VFW Senior Vice Commander Jim Fernandes congratulated the students at Memorial Middle School for their participation in the contest.
The contest consists of four levels. The entry level is sponsored by local VFW Posts. Post winners advance to the regional level where the one first-place winner advances to the state level. The one first-place winner then advances into the VFW National competition. The winner from each state then competes for the national prizes.
Rochambeau Middle School Grade 8 English teachers, Jennifer Ferrigno and Lauren Neth coordinated the writing contest at their school. The eighth grade team at Memorial Middle School were the contest coordinators at MMS.
"Mrs. (Jennifer) Ferrigno and I were impressed by your thoughtfully crafted essays,” said RMS Grade 8 teacher Lauren Neth, the coordinators of the contest at their school. “Many of you mentioned how thankful you were that our founding fathers had the courage to form a new nation and referenced how this courage inspired later generations to persevere through challenging times.”