Brayden Hickman

Brayden Hickman, 7th grader, at William Crawford Intermediate School, won 1st place in both the local and District 10 levels of the national VFW essay contest.

NORTH ROBINSON – Each year more than 165,400 students across the country in grades 6 to 8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards.

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 chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief.

VFW Patriot's Pen

Brayden Hickman, Rayna Shelton, and Lexi Dure receive cash prizes from the Galion VFW for taking the top 3 places at the local level of the VFW's national essay contest.

In the fall, 7th and 8th grade students in Mrs. Whitt's classes were offered the opportunity to participate in the annual essay contest through the Galion VFW. With the topic of "What Patriotism Means to Me," William Crawford Intermediate School swept the local awards with Brayden Hickman winning 1st place, Rayna Shelton 2nd, and Lexi Dure 3rd.

Brayden’s essay went on to the district level where he again took 1st place. Rayna also placed in districts. As a first-place winner, Brayden's essay went up against others from all 12 VFW districts across the state. Crawford County is a part of District 10 along with 6 surrounding counties.

Brayden, a 7th grader, is the son of Levi and Jessica Hickman. He said he enjoyed the contest.

“I wrote the essay to explain to other people how important patriotism is to me. I was excited to win, and I am happy to be a part of it.”

William Crawford Intermediate Principal April Bond said this is a great experience for students.

“I am thankful we have community partners, like the Galion VFW, who provide these opportunities for our students, and I am appreciative of Mrs. Whitt as she takes the time in class to provide a chance for students to express themselves and be recognized for their efforts and abilities. We have wonderful students here at Colonel Crawford, and I am proud to see them representing us well in the community.”


Colonel Crawford Local Schools provides education to over 900 students from preschool through 12th grade. The district offers a curriculum with a wide range of electives and comprehensive courses of study in college preparatory, vocational and physical education programs. The district’s mission is to enable students to grow academically and socially by providing a safe, positive and challenging learning environment.


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