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As soon as Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA) eighth grader Jaden Campbell heard the theme of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest – “America’s Gift to My Generation” – she knew she had to enter.

“I decided to write about freedom as America’s gift to my generation, because when I thought about all this country has given us, I realized that freedom was probably the most important gift,” Jaden said.

The VFW Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest gives students in grades 6-8 across the country an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. All entries begin on the local level, with winners advancing to the district and then the state levels. One winner from each state then competes for national prizes.

Last month, Jaden learned that her essay won the Wyoming state competition and would be reviewed by the national committee for the chance to win $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

When Jaden found out she had won at each level, she was incredibly surprised and excited.

This is Jaden’s fourth year with WYVA since enrolling in fifth grade. “We were unhappy with the math and science she was not getting in her local school,” said Jaden’s mother, D’Ron. “We found this to be the perfect answer for us. The type of work she is producing at WYVA is beyond what we remember doing in middle school. The K12 coursework is challenging and very preparatory for future endeavors.”

Much like her essay, Jaden believes the personalized online curriculum provides her the freedom to move at her own pace.

“My favorite part about attending school online is the freedom that comes with it,” she said. “When I am doing my classes online, I have the ability to work at my own rate.”

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