Eighth grader places first in VFW essay contest

Mackenzie A. Matthews, Staff Writer

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For the past 15 years, Mr. Shimmel’s students have participates in the VFW essay contest, and this year an eighth grader named Lillian O’Connor from Clearfield won first place.

What is the VFW essay contest? Mr. Shimmel describes it as: “An annual contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars auxiliary.  The VFW is a nonprofit veteran’s service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces.  The VFW Auxiliary is a group of women, many with military sons, daughters, husbands, etc., who have worked hard to improve the lives of veterans, active-duty military and their families, and their communities.”

The Patriot’s Pen VFW essay contest was held in the fall and all essays had to be submitted locally by November 1, according to Mr. Shimmel. “All of my 7th and 8th grade students were assigned the essay as part of my class requirement.  Whether they entered the contest was entirely up to each individual student.”

The topic of this year’s contest? “Why I Honor the American Flag.”

Mr. Shimmel explained: “There are usually 3-4 winners locally.  Each winner receives a cash prize and most years is invited to the Clearfield VFW for a dinner.  In recent years, all place winners read their essay to the VFW members who had gathered for the dinner.  This year’s first place winner, Lillian O’Connor, was invited to attend the very special Veterans Day dinner at the VFW and was honored to read her essay to the many VFW members and local officials who were in attendance.  The ladies from our local VFW who are in charge of the contest do an excellent job and shower the many entrants with their praises every year.  They truly appreciate the student involvement in this project!”