MANCHESTER - Three students representing Maple Street School, Manchester Elementary School, and the Dorset School were announced the winners of the VFW's Patriot's Pen Essay Contest. This year's theme was: "What I Would Tell America's Founding Fathers."

This contest included a total of 48 entries from seventh and eighth graders at three local schools. Steve Leach, the 2009-2010 Vermont State Commander, honored each student with a check, certificate, and backpack on Veterans Day at the Harned-Fowler VFW Post 6471 in Manchester. Emily Sullivan from Maple Street, who won first place and $300, read her essay to the crowd gathered to honor those military servicemen and women who have served and continue to serve our country. Congratulations went to Claire Reid of Manchester Elementary School for her second-place essay and $200 award and to Ramsay Eyre from the Dorset School for his third-place essay $100 award.

"We are grateful to Steve Leach and all who work at the VFW to organize this contest," Dr. M. Fran Bisselle, Maple Street's Head of School said. "It offers students the opportunity to learn more about our nation's history, civics, and those who protect us. Congratulations to all three students. We are proud of their efforts and look forward to having them represent our local area."

All three students' essays from Post 6471 have advanced to the District 1 Vermont VFW level competition, and the winner, who will be determined by Dec. 5, will then advance to the Vermont State level. The state winner will be chosen in Lyndonville at an awards banquet on Jan. 12, 2013, and will move to the national level, competing against 53 of his or her peers from across the U.S. States and its territories. Annually, roughly 126,000 students from grades 6-8 (nationwide) en ter. One first-place winner from each state competes to win one of 46 national awards totaling $46,000. The nation's first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March.

Maple Street School is an independent day school serving children in grades Kindergarten through eighth grade. For more information about the school, call Admissions Director Jeff Barclay at 362-7137 or visit on the web site at www.maple streetschool.com.