Collinsville student places 2nd in VFW national essay contest

Miles McAlister (Source: Veterans of Foreign Wars)

WASHINGTON (WTOK) - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. announced seventh grade student, Miles McAlister, of Collinsville, is the second-place national winner of its 2018-2019 Patriot's Pen essay contest. McAlister receives a $4,000 award for the accomplishment.

Miles wrote his winning essay based on this year’s theme, “Why I Honor the American Flag.” He was sponsored by Meridian, Miss., VFW Post 12124.

The VFW’s Patriot’s Pen essay competition, which began in 1995, aims to help foster patriotism by encouraging young people to know American history and examine their own experiences in modern American society while improving their writing skills.

The contest is open to eligible sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students. The competition requires students to submit a 300- to 400-word essay expressing their views on a selected patriotic theme while competing for their share of nearly $1.6 million in awards and prizes.

More than 111,000 students participated in this year’s competition. Miles competed at the national level against 52 other state finalists for individual awards ranging from $500 to $5,000. In all, the VFW awarded more than $55,000 to the top national winners.