South Orangetown Central School District

Patriot's Pen competition winner with VFW members

This morning, Raymond W. DeMeola Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1615 members and Commander John Antonucci recognized 39 South Orangetown Middle School students who submitted essays as part of the annual Veteran of Foreign Wars Patriot’s Pen competition.

This year’s theme was, “How are you inspired by America?” and sixth grader Fionn R. was selected as the winner of the competition and was presented with a medal, certificate and cash award. “I want to give credit to every student who participated in this competition because it is a hard topic, especially for students your age. This would be hard for a college-aged student to write. If you completed an essay, you have my gratitude and it shows that each of you are patriotic,” said Antonucci.

All 39 participants (most, not all pictured) were recognized and presented with certificates and dog tags. Congratulations to:

Grade 6: Luke B., Kim C., Olivia C., Noelle C., Cheyenne D., Madison G., Ryan G., Brendan H., Connor H., Liam H., Devin H., Ari K., Tristian K., Declan K., Gabriel M., Liam M., Fionn R., John S., Emely U., Jacqueline W.

Grade 7: John A., Ronit B., Luke B., Audrey C., Timothy C., Brian D., Kevin F., Kaylin H., Fiona K., Adrian L., Jack N., Matthew O.

Grade 8: Erik E., Diya K., Julia K., Kailyn K., Lilly L., Sam M., Fiona Z.

Participation in this competition is optional and throughout the year, teachers and club advisors organize a variety of field trips and events to honor veterans and teach American history. In November, SOMS Social Studies teachers James Amandola and Sarah Kukla took their students on their annual Hometown Heroes field trip. Amandola explained how they walk with students right near SOMS to show them the banners that honor local veterans to discuss their story and talk about the different branches of the military. SOMS National Junior Honor Society Advisors Kerry Beckmann and Eric Goldstein organized the annual NJHS “Packages for the Troops” drive in recognition of Veterans Day and members of the VFW Post 1615 met with NJHS members to talk about their backstory and explain the significance of receiving care packages as service members away from home.

Congratulations to all the Patriot’s Pen competition participants!