South Orangetown Central School District

VFW members with Patriot's Pen participants

This morning, Raymond W. Demeola Memorial VFW Post 1615 members and Chief John Antonucci presented SOMS eighth-grader Scarlett A. with a medal, certificate and cash award for her winning essay in the Veteran of Foreign Wars 2022 Patriot’s Pen competition.

In response to this year’s theme, “My Pledge to Veterans,” Scarlett wrote about honoring the service of veterans in her daily life and through a hike with her family on the Trail of the Fallen, near West Point. “There are thousands of rocks at the top. These rocks are for the veterans that fought for our country. There is also a bench at the top that says ‘In Memory of the Fallen’ and another says ‘Make every day count!’…To me, this means that every day I should help and serve others just like veterans have for so many.”

All nine participants (not all pictured) were recognized and presented with certificates and dog tags. They are:

Grade 6: Timothy C., Adrian L. and John A.
Grade 7: Colton R., Diya K., Katelyn D., Charlotte F. and Jillian S.
Grade 8: Scarlett A.

In addition, VFW member Chip Hayes presented SOMS Technology teacher and National Junior Honor Society co-advisor Kerry Beckmann with a certificate of appreciation for her support through the “Packages for the Troops” drive for troops stationed overseas and hospitalized veterans. This was the ninth year that NJHS hosted a drive.

Although participation in the VFW Patriot’s Pen contest, it is part of other events, such as the Hometown Heroes field trip taken by James Amandola, Dawn Bongiovanni and Sarah Kukla’s seventh-grade classes and the NJHS drive which aim to connect classroom learning with American history, current events and character education.

During the event, each post member spoke proudly about his military experience and shared personal anecdotes. “We thank Chief Antonucci and all the members of the VFW who have joined us today, not only for recognizing our students, but for their example. They all continue to serve our community long after their military service has ended,” said Principal Chad Corey, Ed.D.

Congratulations to Scarlett and all the Patriot’s Pen participants!