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VFW recognizes winners of Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen competitions

THE Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3457 honored six students who won the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay-writing competitions on Friday evening at the VFW office in Garapan.

Voice of Democracy is a competition for high school students while Patriot’s Pen is for middle school students.

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The winners of the Voice of Democracy essay-writing contest were Marianas High School students Jin Seok (James) Park, first; and Kelvin Wolf, second.

For the Patriot’s Pen competition, Grace Quichocho won first place; followed by Dylan Mister; and third placer is Mylan Goodwin. All are Saipan International School students.

Although they announced the contests as soon as the new school-year started, VFW Post 3457 commander Mariano Fajardo said there were fewer participants this year, adding that the post-Typhoon Yutu recovery made it difficult for some students to submit their entries.

This year’s theme was, “Why my vote matters.”

In an interview, Jin Seok (James)  Park said it was his first time to join the VFW essay-writing competition.

A 10th grader at MHS, he compared voting to solving a puzzle. “We, the residents of a country, are the scattered individual pieces. Every time we vote, we add a piece toward solving the puzzle. As time progresses and more citizens vote, the scattered pieces all come together slowly to showcase a finished product.”

Park said some individuals tend to forget that their votes count toward the nation’s success and progress.

He said he tried his best to write an essay that is creative and meaningful. “My goal is to [compete nationally in] Washington, D.C.”

Second place winner Kelvin Wolf said it was his third time to join the competition. He won first place last year.

This year, Wolf wrote about “a huge paradigm shift in politics and culture.”

“America,” he added, “is not the best, but our nation has made great strides to become the best in politics, military [science] and economics, and that’s really what I wanted to capture. I thought I did a good job using, for example, how to represent the African-American community in a much better light…. They faced racial oppression. and voting has done much to absolve those and other problems and we are still making a stride.”

Fajardo said the CNMI winning entries will compete with Guam’s.

“Whoever wins will compete in the regionals which include students from Asia-Pacific. The winners at the regionals will compete with  entries from the U.S. states and other territories,” he added.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/109582-vfw-recognizes-winners-of-voice-of-democracy-and-patriot-s-pen-competitions

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