Kaitlyn Rodrigues Wins Top Honors with her Patriot's Pen Essay
Posted On:
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Kaitlyn Rodrigues with Representative Thomas Petrolati
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)


View all Highlights
8th Grade Celebration and Awards Ceremony Students Receive Accolades for Award Winning C-SPAN Video Students of Character - RESILIENCE 2nd Annual Career Fair Inspires Students Highlights from the Musical Production of Annie Lia Group Surprise Squad Honors Mrs. Desforges
Paige, Chloe and their Robot! Students of Character- COMMITMENT 6th Grader Torcato Zina Competes at the Massachusetts Geographic Bee Drama Club to Present the Musical, Annie BMS Symphonic Band Takes Away a Bronze at the MICCA Concert Festival 2017 Spaghetti Dinner Students Win Regional Patriot's Pen Awards BMS Students Receive National C-SPAN Award Students of Character- CITIZENSHIP Mrs. Monette's Day as a 6th Grade BMS Student Mr. Quinn Receives 2017 Teaching in Excellence Award 7th Grader, Gabriel Rivera, Wins 2016 Red Ribbon Contest 6th Grader, Torcato Zina, Takes 1st Place in Geography Bee Students of Character- COMPASSION 4th Place Finish for Project Purple Video- CONGRATULATIONS! C-SPAN Interviews Focus on National Issues Foreign Language Students Share Holiday Merriment! Frosty Spreads Holiday Fun! Massachusetts Elector Interviewed by Students Spreading Kindness at Baird Students of Character- INTEGRITY Senator Eric Lesser Interviewed for C-Span Project 8th Graders Writing for Task, Purpose and Audience Margolis Miles for Music Donates $1000 to BMS Music Program Community Service Club Supports Classmate Collecting Items for those in Need Baird's Got Talent 2016! Rotary Club Donates $4,500 to the Harmony Bridge Program Kaitlyn Rodrigues Wins Top Honors with her Patriot's Pen Essay Butter Braids Fundraiser Raises $12,000 to Support Student Activities Students of Character- RESPECT Stations of Impairment Offer First Hand Effects of Drug & Alcohol Abuse Annual Halloween Dance 2016 Band Bash a Musically Ghoulish Night! Project Purple Club Spreads Message of Acceptance to Chapin Street Students Chris Herren Brings his Message to Baird Students #goodbetterBaird Community Service Club Volunteers at Day for Kids Event New York Time's Best Selling Author Visits BMS Posters Share Messages of Kindness Grade 8 English Students Off to a Great Start! 2016 Open House Pitching in for Kids Baird Middle School Principal Announced