The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Maine District 11, led by Commander Melvyn Bates, recently announced the district level winners of the 2018 Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy essay contests and Teacher of the Year. Each year the VFW holds two youth scholarship competitions for middle and high school age students and a teacher recognition program.

The Patriots Pen Essay Competition is for students in grades 6-8. The theme for 2018 is “Why I Honor the American Flag.” The District 11 winner is Amelia Rider. Amelia is a student at Wells Junior High School in Wells, Maine. Second place was awarded to Virginia Foxx and third place to Conor McPherson, both from Shapleigh Middle School in Kittery, Maine.

The Voice of Democracy Essay Competition is an audio/video competition for students in grades 9-12. The theme for 2018 is “Why My Vote Matters.” The District 11 winner is Kathleen McPherson. Kathleen is a student at Traip Academy in Kittery, Maine. Second place was awarded to Destiny Dohring from Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram, Maine.

The Teacher of the Year Competition honors teachers for their outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and instill a sense of patriotism in their students. Nominations are submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors or other interested individuals (not relatives). The District 11 winner is Andrew Rowe. Mr. Rowe teaches at Marshwood Middle School in Eliot, Maine.

All district level winners will be attending an all-expenses paid awards banquet at the Bangor Motor Inn and Suites in Bangor Maine on January 12. Department of Maine winners will be announced at that time. Department (state) winners move on to compete nationally.