Patriot's Pen
and Voice of Democracy Essay Competition
and Teacher of the Year Award Winners

Veterans of Foreign Wars - VFW Post 10904 - Manchester, TN


Congratulations to all of our winners
from everyone at VFW Post 10904.

The Awards Ceremony is scheduled for February 8th, 6 pm at the Veterans Building.
Location: 130 Shelton Road; Manchester, TN


2020-2021 Award Winners:

Voice of Democracy Essay Competition
24 essays submitted

First Place Post and District winner:
David Tran; Webb School

Second Place Post winner; Third Place District winner:
Lexie Stewart; Temple Baptist Christian School

Third Place Post winner:
Lauren Perry; Coffee County Central High School

Fourth Place Post winner:
Grace Butler; Temple Baptist School


Patriot's Pen Essay Competition
51 essays submitted

First Place Post winner:
James Farless; Temple Baptist School

Second Place Post winner:
Chandler G. Meacham; Westwood Middle School

Third Place Post winner:
Keena E. Seivers; Westwood Middle School

Fourth Place Post winner:
Sydney R. Wells; Westwood Middle School

Fifth Place Post winner:
Mariah Stewart; Temple Baptist School


VFW Teacher of the Year
Post, District and Dept. of TN Award Winners:

Grade level K-5th
Donna Harryman; Hillsboro Elementary School

Grade level 6-8th
Donna Burdine; Westwood Middle School

Grade level 9-12th
Becki Louden, Coffee County Central High School

VFW All-American Post 10904 proudly announces that three local teachers have been awarded
the coveted Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Tennessee, Teacher of the Year Award for 2020-2021.

The recipients are Donna Harryman of Hillsboro Elementary School in the Kindergarten-5th grade category;
Donna Burdine of Westwood Middle School in the 6th - 8th grade category; and Becki Louden of Coffee County
Central High School in the high school category.

With 92 VFW Posts in Tennessee, being selected Teacher of the Year at the state level is a remarkable achievement.
Seven local area teachers have received the honor over the last four years; this marks the first "sweep" as all three teachers
selected at the local VFW Post level advanced to District selection and went on to be awarded Teacher of the Year
for the State of Tennessee.

These three remarkable teachers will now advance to the VFW National level. Emily Ezell of
Cowan Elementary School received the National award in 2018.

Donna Harryman has worked as a teacher for 29 years. She was selected because of the work she has done
to educate elementary school children on veterans, American history, Veterans Day and the meaning of
"service to country". Around 15 years ago she created the Wall of Honor, which featured the names of
former Hickerson Elementary students who later served in the military.

She inspires her students to regard veterans as "superheroes" with artwork displayed throughout the school.
She has supervised veterans programs and sold bracelets and other items to fund the ceremonies;
as well as baked goods for the events. She teaches students patriotic songs and uses current political
differences to teach American history such as the conflict between Andrew Jackson and John Adams.

Donna Burdine has a degree in business from Lee University. After working at an Atlanta business for a year,
she had two children and was encouraged by family to work in the school system. After serving as a
substitute teacher, she chose to pursue a degree in education. In 2017, she was awarded the Scottish Rite
Educator of the Year award. She educates her students in flag etiquette, as well as the meaning of the various
patriotic days and the importance of mutual respect in the classroom.

She had her students make Valentines and holiday cards for veterans at the VA Hospital in Murfreesboro;
in last year's Veterans Day Parade she dedicated the parade entry to former First Lieutenant Gary Dyer,
former Westwood Middle School student and Vietnam veteran, who returned and served his school
as coach and teacher before his retirement.

Becki Louden served in the United States Army and was awarded the Bronze Star for her service in Iraq.
She is Culinary Arts teacher at Coffee County Central High School and a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
To honor veterans, she coordinated projects in support of Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Patriots Day, Pearl Harbor Day
and created a Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) competition.
For Veterans Day last year, she and her students provided a drive-thru meal for veterans so that none felt forgotten.

She educates her students on topics ranging from Prisoners Of War / Missing In Action veterans,
events surrounding September 11th, the meaning of the military funeral bugle call TAPS
and the different branches of the service.

VFW Post 10904 Commander Kimberly King noted: "It is always an honor to meet and interview teachers
who serve our country in this way. In an age when self-worth is stressed and sacrifice is not even discussed,
it is so important for school children to realize what has been given to them as Americans.
Teachers who educate our children in the values and morals of America are so deserving of this award."

A tentative awards ceremony is scheduled for March 8th, 2021, at the Veterans Building located
at 130 Shelton Road in Manchester.

For more information and to stay current on the latest VFW news,
visit our website at
www.vfwpost10904.com


2019-2020 Award Winners:

Voice of Democracy Essay Competition
27 essays submitted

First Place: Jonathan A. Bryan; Coffee County Central High School
Second Place: Blake Christian Albright; Temple Baptist Christian School
Third Place: Grace A. Butler, Temple Baptist Christian School

Grace Butler also won Second Place at the District Level

Patriot's Pen Essay Competition
58 essays submitted

First Place: Hannah C. Ryan; Temple Baptist School
Second Place: Isaac W. Stewart; Temple Baptist School
Third Place: Ansley Katherine Reagan; Westwood Middle School
Isaac Steward also won Second Place at the District Level

VFW Teacher of the Year Award Winners:


(left to right)

Grade level K-5th - Christy Ledsinger; East Coffee Elementary School
Grade level 6-8th - James B. Dobson; Westwood Middle School
Grade level 9-12th - Lorraine A. Neal, Coffee County Central High School

James Dobson also won the Dept. of TN State Teacher of the Year award!


2018-2019 Award Winners:

Voice of Democracy Essay Competition

1st place (Post and District winner): Rachel Butler, Temple Baptist School
2nd place: Michael Gloden, Temple Baptist School
3rd place: Cody Swayze, Temple Baptist

Patriot's Pen Essay Competition

1st place: Cadie Prater, Coffee County Middle School
2nd place (Post and District winner): Maria Armenta, Coffee County Middle School
3rd place: Katie Cotton, Coffee County Middle school

VFW Teacher of the Year Award Winners:


(left to right)

Grade level 6-8th: James Hoggard; Coffee County Middle School
Post, District and State Award winner

Grade level 9-12th: Todd Payne; Franklin County High School
Post, District, and State Award winner


2017-2018 Award Winners:

VFW Teacher of the Year Award:


Grade level K-5th: Emily Cowan Ezell; Cowan Elementary School
Post, District, State and National Award winner