VFW Hands Out Local Awards

The winners of the local VFW Patriots Pen medals, Voices of Democracy Medal winner and State Teacher of the VFW Winners are pictured with the VFW representatives. Back row (l-r) Pat Fellers, David Sivert, 3rd Place Voices of Democracy Kale Sapiel, High School State Teacher of the Year Kathy Smith, and Middle School State Teacher of the Year Pat Sammer. Front (l-r) Sherri Sivret, 1st Place Voices of Democracy Devon Carrier, 2nd Place Voices of Democracy Amanda O'Brien, 3rd Place Patriots Pen Cassidy Carr, and 1st Place Patriots Pen Hope McLaughlin. Missing from photo is 2nd Place Patriots Pen Winner Gavin Altvater. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon)

By Kaileigh Deacon


Every year VFW posts from all across the country hold the Patriots Pen Essay Contest for middle school students, the Voices of Democracy Speech Contest for high school students, and the Teacher of the Year Awards. On Wednesday the local VFW handed out the local awards for these honors at Calais Middle-High School. 

The Patriots Pen is an essay of 300-400 words around a certain topic and is open to all students in sixth to eighth grade. Winners at the local level receive a medal as well as a check. State winners attend a banquet and National Winners will receive a large scholarship as well as a trip to Washington, D.C. The upcoming topic for this year’s contest is ‘Why I honor the American Flag’ and the deadline is October 31. The top honors awarded in Calais went to: 3rd Place Cassidy Carr, 2nd Place Gavin Altvater, and 1st place Hope McLaughlin. 

The Voices of Democracy speech is a three to five minute essay that the student writes then records to be listened to by the judging committee. The speech, like the essay for the middle school students, revolves around a central topic and then is awarded the same way with national level winners get a trip to the Nation’s Capital as well as a large scholarship. This year’s local winners were: 3rd place Kale Sapiel, 2nd Place Amanda O’Brien, and 1st Place Devon Carrier. 

Also awarded on Wednesday were the local certificates for Teachers of the Year for Middle School and High School. The local winners who also went on to win at the State level came from Calais Middle-High School. For the high school the winner was Kathy Smith and the middle school winner was Pat Sammer. 

The local VFW is looking to start up the Scout of the Year award for both Boy and Girl Scouts. For anyone interested in any of these programs, contact the local VFW chapter or middle and high school students can reach out to their teachers for more information.