Woodward, Okla. —
Three Woodward 8th graders were recently named as the local winners of the Patriot's Pen Essay Contest sponsored by the VFW Post 1335 and the Ladies Auxiliary to the VFW.
More than 200 Woodward Middle School students participated in this year's contest, with Rayna Stewart taking third place, Hattie Brittain taking second place, and Campbell Covalt taking first.
Covalt's essay also took second place at the District level of the competition out of over 400 entries.
When asked how it felt to win out of all those essays, Covalt said, "It feels really good, I'm pretty excited about it."
This year the middle school students were challenged to write a 200 to 300 word essay on the topic of "What would you say to the founding fathers?"
In Covalt's essay, he said he would talk with the founding fathers about how great America is and how compassionate and powerful America is, aiding other countries and being "without a doubt the greatest country in the world."
According to Woodward VFW Post 1335 Commander Dr. Curtis "Doc" Bohlman, while the essay topic differs each year, it always focuses on patriotism.
"The contest has been going on about 17 years now," Bohlman said.
Bohlman, who served in the military as a Navy Flight Surgeon, said it's good to see such patriotism in the classroom.
Amy Whitewater, a WMS 8th grade language arts teacher, said the essay contest not only allows the students to explore and express pride in their country, but also pride in those who have fought for the nation.
"It's a way to honor and to learn about veterans, as well as to show appreciation for our service men and women," she said.
Whitewater said, that as always, she was impressed with the essays submitted for this year's contest.
"The kids do such an great job, we're always so proud of the incredible work they do," she said.
According to Whitewater, Woodward Middle School has had 4 state winners in the Patriot's Pen Contest over the past 5 years as well as a national winner, Julia Benbrook.