VFW Post 257 held their annual dinner and recognition night on Monday, March 19, to honor the winners of the Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy essay contests.

The first three places in each contest from the El Dorado Springs R-II School and the El Dorado Christian School were presented monery awards, medals and  certificates.

The Patriot’s Pen contest is for 6th – 8th grade. This year’s theme was “America’s Gift To My Generation.”

The Voice of Democracy contest is for High School students. This year’s theme was “American History: Our Hope For The Future.”

State winner Lydia Eason competed in Washington DC where she placed 26 out of 53.  Her essay is below.


PATRIOT’S PEN WINNERS – El Dorado Springs Middle School – First Place – Sydney Barger, Second Place – Will McKinney and Third Place – Zach Waggoner: El Dorado Christian School – First Place – Noah Marsh, Second Place – Eli Daniel and Third Place – Brenton LeeMasters.



VOICE OF DEMOCRACY WINNERS – El Dorado Springs High School – First Place local, First Place District and First Place State – Lydia Eason, not pictured Second Place – Laika Gonterman-Helm, Third Place Devan Stockbauer; El Dorado Springs Christian High School – First Place – Abigail Reasoner, Second Place – Landon Wilson and Third Place- Colten Pike.


My Hope For America’s Future

by Lydia Eason

Let’s face it, we are all a bit nervous for the future of our country. I love America. I love the men and women who risk their lives fighting for it, and I love its creator. With every positive aspect comes a few negative. I am fourteen years old and I am being influenced by these events. I can’t go to school without my beliefs being criticized. At times I find myself having to bite the bullet. People my age are just as opinionated on politics as our elders! Honestly, I don’t like living like this! So much disrespectful speaking about veterans goes around in my school, and I’m fed up with it! I’m fed up with it all! I need to get my feelings out there! Here are mythree hopes for the future of our America.

I hope that we will put an end to veteran homelessness and bring back the respect they deserve. The U.S Department of Housing and Development estimates that approximately 39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over half of them suffer from a mental illness from war experience. Two-thirds suffer from substance abuse. Is this how our heroes should have to live their lives? Trying to cope with the trauma that they had to endure? My grandfather served in Vietnam War, and he was one of the lucky ones. I never hear him talk about it. Although he isn’t homeless, he still has difficulties. He suffers from PTSD. He was exposed to Agent Orange and has been diagnosed with leukemia. 1 believe that the government should give more help to our veterans instead of leaving them to face their difficulties alone. 39,471 homeless veterans is a big number. This isn’t one or two unlucky folks. This is a big issue in America and we need to stand up and say enough is enough! I pray that someday, someone will step up and fight for our heroes because that is exactly what they did for us.

My second hope for the future involves something that we all witness everyday. We see everywhere, maybe even in our own homes. What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘offended”? Do you think of the Confederate Flag? African-Americans? School Names? Bullies? Ask someone this in the 1970s and they would probably have given you a different answer than they would today. Nowadays, EVERYONE is offended. That flag offends me. That name offends me. Your religion offends me. The list goes on and on. Coming from a fourteen year old …. YA’LL NEED TO STOP!! My hope for the future of America is that we can put an end to being offended over things that don’t matter. You may not agree with something someone says, but my Momma would tell me to suck it up and look the other way. Goodness knows, I do that everyday.

My final hope for the future is probably something we don’t think about much. My Momma told me that politics were a lot more private when she was growing up. People are just so open about their beliefs nowadays. There are tons of people still whining about Donald Trump winning the presidential election. He’s our president, show some respect, put your big kid pants on, build a bridge, and get over it! Stop making your opinions so public on social media, especially if you know it’s going to make someone upset. You’re a Democrat? Great, I don’t care. You like Trump? Great, I don’t care. I don’t care about your beliefs, I’m only concerned about my own. Posting about things won’t change the past, present, or future. Let’s stop being so public about it, and just learn to love one another despite our different values. Politics are a very serious and private matter, so why do we talk about it with other people? It’s not going to change their mind in any way. Everyone believes that their opinion is right.

There is a lot to be done. These three things are a start. Our country is amazing and I wouldn’t want to disrespect it in any way. It’s not the country that is the problem, it’s the people in it. After 9/11, America came together despite everyone’s differences. Why can’t we do that all the time? Having a perfect country is an unrealistic expectation, because there will always be evil. My hope for the future of America is that we can come together as a country and love, no matter the obstacles. Thank you.