Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School eighth graders Caroline Rafizadeh, Thomas Kane, and Claire Harrison, front row, from left, were the local winners in this year's Patriot's Pen essay contest sponsored by Berkeley Heights VFW Post 6259.

All of LCJSMS eighth graders wrote an essay on the contest theme, "When is the Right Time to Honor Our Military Heroes?" Teachers selected the five best essays and submitted them to the VFW, which then selected the local winners from among entries submitted by a number of local schools.

The winning students from each participating school received a plaque and a $200 savings bond as well as the opportunity to advance to the district level of the competition.

Joining the winners are, from left, back row, Beverly Monsell, supervisor of Summit's English/Language Arts Department for grades K-8; Ray DiGiambattista, VFW trustee; Frank Perlzak, Post 6259 commander; Jack Falcone, Post Quartermaster, and Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School Principal Matthew Block.