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VFW honors 'Patriot's Pen,' 'Voice of Democracy' winners
Pictured are VFW Post 10825 members Alexander Brown and Dr. Gene Murkison, Dylan Smith, VFW member Eugene Smith, Tyson Harnage and Terry Turner.

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10825 in Statesboro recently honored middle and high school students from Bulloch County schools who competed in their annual Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy essay contests. Students were recognized at their schools if they placed on either their school level or the VFW post level of the competition from entries throughout the county.

For middle school students, this year’s Patriot’s Pen theme was, “How can I be a good American?” Students were tasked with writing a 300- to 400-word essay for the competition. Of all of the school-level winners, the VFW also reviewed the essays for possible selections as a VFW post-level winner.  

VFW member Murkison is pictured with high school winners Noah Barnes, first place; Jenna Goodson, second place; and Shay Cason, third place, and Smith and James Williams. Shown on the front row are middle school winners Cannon Thompson, first place; Jenna Mallard, second place; and Zane Lanier and Kaylin Warren. third place.

Lauryn Bazemore of William James Middle School, was her school’s first place winner, and she won the Silver Award for second place in the post level of the competition. Lillian Palmer of Langston Chapel Middle School was her school’s first place winner, and she also won the Bronze Award for third place in the post level.

For high school students, this year’s Voice of Democracy theme was "America: Where do we go from here?" Participants were tasked with writing both an essay and making a three- to five-minute recording of their essay. 

Tina Pilter, of Statesboro High School, was selected as the Gold first place VFW post winner and received a $300 cash prize.

The Voice of Democracy competition has been the VFW’s premier national scholarship program since 1947.  Each year over 60,000 high school students compete nationwide for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives.  

SHS Principal Keith Wright is pictured with VFW members Brown and Smith, SHS English teacher Jen Calhoun, and Murkison, along with Tina Pilter, first place; Erin Shen, second place; and Julia Basquin, third place.

For both competitions, school-level winners were selected by faculty. The competitions were coordinated by VFW project officer Dr. Gene Murkison, VFW Post Commander Mike Cox and Charesse Clark, an instructional coach for the school district.

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