Commander Everett Beach, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Post VFW Post 7447 Rehoboth Beach, announced the kickoff of the VFW’s annual Patriot’s Pen youth essay competition.

Middle school students in sixth through eighth grades in the area have the opportunity to compete and win thousands of dollars in national awards.

The VFW enacted the Patriot’s Pen competition in 1995 to encourage young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society by composing a 300- to 400-word patriotic-themed essay. The theme for the 2019-2020 essay competition is “What Makes America Great.”

Entry deadline is Oct. 31.

Students begin by competing at the local post level. Post winners advance to district competition, with district winners advancing to the state competition. State first-place winners compete for their share of thousands of dollars in awards, and the national first-place winner is awarded $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Each year, more than 125,000 students participate nationwide.

Interested students and teachers should contact rehobothvfw@aol.com.

For more, visit vfw.org/patriotspen.