Kaitlyn Rodrigues with Representative Thomas Petrolati
The Patriot’s Pen youth essay-writing contest is an annual contest sponsored by the VFW that encourages students in grades 6-8 to examine our nation’s history, and their own experiences in modern American society. Student entries consist of a 300-400-word essay, expressing their views based on an annual patriotic theme that is chosen by the National VFW Commander-in-Chief. This year the chosen theme is “The America I Believe In.”
Mr. Eric Segundo, the Director of Veterans Services for the Town of Ludlow, explains that annually approximately 100,000 students in grades 6-8 nationwide enter this contest. One first-place winner from each state will be chosen to compete in the national level. The national first-place winner is awarded $5,000, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
“The good will of the Veterans of Foreign Wars reaches far beyond the realm of veterans helping veterans,” shared Segundo. “In fact, direct involvement with America’s youth and communities has always been, and always will be, a VFW priority. That’s why we encourage youthful minds to examine our nation’s history and their own experiences in modern American society through our Patriot’s Pen youth essay-writing contest.”
With the assistance of the Baird Middle School Patriot’s Pen Coordinator, English/Reading Department Chair, Mrs. Michelle D’Amore, Director Segundo was proud to report that close to 250 entries were collected for this year’s essay contest, and that with the help of Baird Middle School teachers a total of 21 essays were submitted. The Sgt. Joshua D. Desforges VFW Post 3236 (Ludlow), extended a thank you to all of the Baird Middle School students who took the time to participate, and share their personal thoughts.
The top 10 essays were recognized during the annual Veterans Day Celebration held at The Exit 7 Players on November 11th. Each student was given Patriot’s Pen certificates and a monetary award. The top 5 winners will continue to the district level competition.
Mrs. Mary Dobek, BMS Assistant Principal, was in attendance, commenting, “I could not have been more proud of our Baird students for their participation in such an important event to honor our Veterans.” She explained that this was the first year that the organizers of the event invited a middle school student to read their essay. “When the eloquent words of first place winner, Kaitlyn Rodrigues, was read by Commander Christine Bassett, it brought tears to the eyes of many audience members, including myself. It was an honor to have Kaitlyn represent our Baird Middle School family.”
Please click here to read the 1st place essay written by Kaitlyn D. Rodrigues. Below is a list of the top 10 winners and a video created by BMS 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Tina Gilbert, of highlights from the event.
1st Place - Kaitlyn D. Rodrigues (8th grade)
2nd Place - Catarina B. Pires (8th grade)
3rd Place - Cam Daniel Smith (8th grade)
4th Place - Aaron J. Little (6th grade)
5th Place - McKylely R. Jerome (8th grade)
6th place - Lizette M. Alves (8th grade)
7th place - Marissa Ann Balbino (8th grade)
8th place - Fiona G. Elliott (7th grade)
9th place - Keziah Reyes Abanador ( 8th grade)
10th place - Ryan J. Cordeiro (8th grade)