Mariessa McKenna, an eighth-grade student at Crofton Middle School, recently was named the national winner of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest.
The 13-year-old won a $5,000 scholarship for her essay, written on the theme “What I Would Tell America’s Founding Fathers.” In her piece, Mariessa wrote that if she had been in attendance when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, she would have told those who signed the document “that their hope was not false.”
” I would tell them the stories of Americans, most of whom will not be born until decades later, who will come to embody the American spirit that was born that day,” she wrote, citing Americans such as Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin as examples.
“Although they may not believe me, I would tell them that while some of the delegates sitting in that room may see them as nothing but overconfident fools, that their actions that day would make them fifty-six of the bravest fools in history,” Mariessa wrote.
The Patriot’s Pen program is open to all students in grades 6 through 8 who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories. Participants must be sponsored by a local VFW post. Mariessa, who received her award earlier this month, was sponsored by VFW Post 8065 in Bowie.