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Winners Announced in Patriot's Pen Essay Contest!

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The Patriot's Pen Essay Contest is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  The 2019-2020 theme is:  "What Makes America Great." The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America's history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300-400 word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.  

Middle School Language Arts Teacher, Dianne Williams, says it's important for students to participate in this program because it fosters a love and appreciation for their nation. "This is a wonderful opportunity for students to reflect upon and analyze their own thoughts and feelings about their country. It helps them to internalize the fact that the freedom they enjoy comes with a price... the devotion, service, and sacrifice of fellow Americans. It becomes very personal for them. It is another step in their development as patriotic, responsible citizens and future leaders."

According to Mrs. Williams, many of the students expressed in their essays that America's greatness is due to the grace of God, the democratic form of government, the opportunities that abound, and the great people of the past and the present.

The contest consists of 4 levels: VFW Post, VFW District, VFW Department (State), and VFW National. Awards and prize money are awarded at each level.  

Congratulations to our award winners for the VFW Post level, and thank you Mrs. Williams for your time and dedication to this project!

1st place: Cate Lynn Creech

2nd place: Charles Cease

3rd place: Greta Anderson

4th place: Josie Hurley

5th place: Nadia Stuckey

6th place: Jenna Leon

7th place: Jacob Hanling

Alternate: Kennedy Sullivan (not pictured)

Posted by Amy Walters with

Third Graders Enjoy and Afternoon with a Pirate

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 While waiting with the third graders for the special guest (a pirate!) to arrive, I knew I was in for a treat because the students' excitement was palpable. I asked the children if they had been learning about pirates in their classrooms. Buggy informed me that they have been learning about Charleston's harbor and South Carolina's coastline during the Golden Age of Piracy. Millie added that they had learned about Blackbeard and Steve Bonnet who was known as a fancy pirate.

As soon as the pirate arrived, he asked us to travel back in time with him, leaving 2020 and heading back to when pirates reigned the seas. The guest asked what students already knew about pirates. "Blackbeard would light his beard on fire to scare people!" and "pirates would steal stuff!" were gleefully shouted out to him. The inquisitive students from the classes of Ms. Jones, Mrs. Andrews, and Mrs, Adkins were then invited to interrogate him and asked him such questions as, "What are you here to plunder?", "Why did you become a pirate?" and "What brings you to Charleston?"

In this day and age the pirate's actual name is Rigel Kocur. He is the education coordinator for the Old Exchange in downtown Charleston. The third-grade teachers hope to re-connect with the Old Exchange in the future and invite other special guests to bring a glimpse of the past to the now. Thanks so much to Mr. Kocur and the Old Exchange for this fascinating educational tour through history!


Posted by Amy Walters with

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