Skip to Content Skip to Footer Accessibility Concerns
Micaela Beck and members of VFW Post 12098

VFW honors students and staff

Congratulations to students and staff who took home top honors in the Patriot’s Pen Essay contest, Voice of Democracy contest, and the 2023 Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year program hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post (VFW).

Conducted nationwide, the Patriot’s Pen essay competition gives students in 6th  through 8th grades an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. This year's prompt was, "How Are You Inspired by America?". More than 138,000 students participate nationwide in the annual Patriot’s Pen Contest that encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society.

The Voice of Democracy is an audio-essay program that provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay.  Each year, nearly 25,000 9th through 12th grade students from across the country enter to win their share of more than $1 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the program. The theme of the contest was “What Are the Greatest Attributes of Our Democracy?”.

The Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher program recognizes educators who promote civic responsibility and patriotism in their students with innovation and passion. Teachers are nominated by students and/or members of their school.  

The following students and staff were recognized by VFW Post 285:

Voice of Democracy

1st - Barbara Lopez, Dysart High School

2nd - Alexis Dytrt, Dysart High School

3rd - Isaiah Saldana, Dysart High School 

Patriot’s Pen

1st - Jocelyn Vazquez, Thompson Ranch Elementary School

2nd - Ativous Baez, Thompson Ranch Elementary School 

3rd - Spencer Johnson, Sunset Hills Elementary School  

2023 Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year Awards

Micaela Beck, Thompson Ranch Elementary School

JoAnna Boruch, Dysart High School 

Additionally, Malaiya Russell from Thompson Ranch Elementary School was recognized as the first place winner at the state level with VFW Post 12098 for her Patriot’s Pen essay. She will be going to Washington DC to compete for Nationals.  


Tags: District News, Thompson Ranch News