• March 21, 2022

    Eighth grader wins regional essay contest

    Pritika Gupta An essay written by Upper St. Clair eighth grader Pritika Gupta was recently selected as the regional winner of the 2022 Patriot’s Pen essay contest, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

    The Patriot’s Pen essay contest encourages middle school students to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW commander-in-chief. The 2021-22 theme is “How Can I Be a Good American?”

    Pritika, a student at Fort Couch Middle School, addressed the theme by taking a critical look at how she can support freedom of speech. 

    “I should not only express my ideas, but also encourage others to communicate theirs,” she wrote. “My friends and I often hesitate to discuss political matters due to the fear that our relationship may be harmed. However, I can demonstrate that respect for others' ideas allows varying viewpoints. The ideas of this nation’s citizens are the driving force for our government and therefore our very lives. I can help prevent the ‘cancel culture’ that is growing in this nation and find a way to let everyone know that they are heard. America is the land of the free, and I can contribute by keeping it that way.”

    Pritika’s essay won first place at the local VFW Post 764, advancing her essay to the regional level where it won first place as well. As a regional essay contest winner, Pritika will participate in a Memorial Day parade and read her essay at the parade’s conclusion.

    Each year more than 165,400 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards.