Post 1336 honors Patriot’s Pen winners

Courtesy photos
FIVE COAL CITY Middle School students were recently recognized for their submissions to the Patriot’s Pen program, an essay contest run by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Local honors went to (from left): Amilia Fritz, Korbyn Crist, Elliana Chernesky, Aiden Wills and Owen Kurdenok who are pictured by St. Juvin Post 1336 member Don Tira (far left). Chernesky’s essy based on the theme “What Makes America Great,” was selected by the VFW’s 18th District to compete at the state level and Kurdenok’s submission received third place honors.

St. Juvin Post 1336 Veterans of Foreign Wars and the veteran organization’s 18th District Department of Illinois honored five Coal City Middle School students for their participation in the 2019 Patriot’s Pen program.
The students, along with their parents, joined VFW members for a pizza party at Stone City Post in Joliet.
Patriot’s Pen is a nationwide event for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who compose a 300 to 400 word essay on a subject chosen by the VFW's National Commander. This year's theme was “What Makes America Great.”
Scholarship prizes are awarded at the post, state and national levels totaling over $50,000.
This year, due in part to the hard work and dedication of Coal City Middle School teachers, 259 students submitted entries, which represents about 56 percent of the school’s students.
Coal City's five finalist selected by St. Juvin’s Scholarship Committee were Aiden J. Wills, Owen Michael Kurdenok, Elliana A. Chernesky, Korbyn L. Crist and Amelia K. Fritz.
The committee chaired by Hoppy Phillips, with members Don Tira, Keith Roseland and John Dite, ranked the 10 best essay submissions without knowing the age, gender or names of the essay's composer. The five finalists received a certificate and a medal from Post 1336.
During this year's 18th District Patriot's Pen recognition ceremony Elliana Cherneski, who was not able to attend the event due to a change in her volleyball game schedule, was named the first place winner and was chosen as the District's entry to go on to state competition. Owen Kurdenok was recognized as the third place winner.
Cherneski received a $75 prize and along with Kurdenok received a certificate from the 18th District attesting to their achievements.
St. Juvin Post will honor both Chernesky and Crist, who was unable to attend due to illness, at a future date.
The Department of Illinois' 18th District comprises Will, Grundy, Kendall and part of DeKalb counties.
St. Juvin Post supplied the Color Guard to post the colors for the opening ceremonies where seven posts submitted 18 entries for final judging by the District.
Post 1336 members taking part in the event were Don Tira, Irving Dewald, Hoppy Phillips, John Dite and Keith Roseland.