HILLSBOROUGH, NJ  - Pradyun Y. Kamaraju, an eighth student at Hillsborough Middle School is the local winner of the Patriots Pen Youth Essay contest sponsored by Hillsborough Memorial VFW Post #8371.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars sponsors the national Patriots Pen youth essay contest each year; more than 132,000 students in grade 6-8 enter the contest nationwide.

The national first place winner is awarded $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $54,500.

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The essay contest encourages young minds 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 based on a patriotic theme. This years theme was "America's Gift To My Generation.”

Student essays are submitted to the local VFW Posts for judging competition and on to the district, state and national levels. Cash awards are presented at the local Post and District levels also.

Hillsborough Memorial VFW Post # 8371 judged entries from the Hillsborough, Montgomery and Branchburg school districts producing a winning essay along with a second and third place finisher. Each award winner was presented with a certificate of merit and award checks of $300 for 1st, $200 for 2nd and $100 for 3rd place. 

Parents of students interested in participating in the 2018 Patriots Pen competition in the fall are encouraged to access the www.vfw.org web site for entry forms and directions for the competition or contact the Hillsborough Memorial VFW Post #8371, 339 South Branch Road Hillsborough, NJ 08844 for further information.