EDISON — Mirika Jambudi, a seventh-grade student at John Adams Middle School, said she wanted to express her gratitude and thoughts towards her country for the greatest gift it has provided her — education — when she entered the VFW Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest.
“Unlike many other countries, girls get equal opportunities for education here in America,” she said. “Regardless of gender, race, color or culture, I think education is a key ingredient for one to be successful and self-sufficient.”
For her thoughts, Mirika garnered third place in the state and was honored at a dinner held on Jan. 14 at the South River VFW Post. Mirika submitted her essay through Edison’s VFW Memorial Post 3117.
The New Jersey VFW District received thousands of essays by VFW Posts throughout Middlesex County.
Each year, more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $54,500 with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level.
The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C.
The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300-400 word essay expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW commander in chief.
The 2017-18 theme was “America’s Gift to My Generation.”
Mirika said she was so excited and honored to receive an award from the VFW.
“I am very thankful to be able to take part in this contest, and I’m lucky to be part of John Adams Middle School, and especially thankful to my teacher Mr. [Todd] Pagel for his support,” she said.