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Essay

Since the inception of the Department of Pennsylvania state Essay Contest in 1935, The American Legion has awarded well over $500,000 in scholarships, while local American Legion Posts, counties, Districts and Sections have also offered suitable awards and prizes for their respective best essay winners.

Through the annual Department of Pennsylvania American Legion Essay scholarship contest, students are provided an opportunity to showcase their talents and abilities in English by using originality, accuracy and research as evidence, while learning that the responsibilities and duties of good citizenship can be both rewarding and fun.

As American Legionnaires, we fully believe that education is the cornerstone upon which the future of America is built. Education becomes the first requisite of good citizenship and the relationship of The American Legion to Pennsylvania citizens is of prime importance as a means of keeping us a free civilization.

Our approach to supporting solid educational principles is direct and positive. We agree with the current PA Department of Education initiative of “writing across the curriculum” and reward the efforts of involved students through our annual essay scholarship program.

Any student enrolled in grades 9 thorough 12 in a public, private or parochial School or who is home schooled in Pennsylvania is eligible to participate.

Prizes To Be Awarded

The Department of Pennsylvania State Essay First Place Winner will be awarded a $3500 scholarship, a plaque and a trip to this years PA American Legion Convention in July to read the winning essay to the assembled delegates. In the event the first place winner chooses not to attend college, they will receive $300.

The Second Place Winner will receive a $3000 scholarship and a plaque. In the event the second place winner chooses not to attend college, they will receive $200.

The Third Place Winner will receive a $2500 scholarship and a plaque. In the event the third place winner chooses not to attend college, they will receive $200.

NOTE: In the event the winners of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place Department of Pennsylvania American Legion Essay Contest choose not to enter college but have enlisted and been sworn into the active duty military of the U.S. armed forces and shipped to basic training, they would receive the full scholarship amount.

Click Here for additional information on the Essay Program for grades 9 – 12


The Department of Pennsylvania is encouraging Posts to participate in the Essay Program for students in grades 6 -8.  This will prepare students for the high school aged Department Essay Program.

Click Here for additional information on the Essay Program for grades 6 – 8


To participate or to find out additional information contact Department Headquarters at 717-730-9100