Mary Ryan Memorial Essay Contest

Every year, the U.S. Veterans Legacy Project in conjunction with the Delaware County Intermediate Unit presents the Mary Ryan Memorial Essay Contest in honor of the annual Veteran’s Day celebration in Media, PA.

The goals of the contest are to encourage Delaware County students to learn more about veterans of the United States armed services and how they help preserve our freedom. The essay contest is open to all Delaware County students in grades 6 through 8. A first, second and third place winner will be chosen for the contest, each one winning a cash prize. The winners will be asked to read from his/her winning essay during the Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony.

Colonel Maureen Weigl at the 2016 Delaware County Veterans’ Day Parade

2018 Essay Contest Guidelines

Background: This year’s Veterans Day Parade is in honor of the 100th Anniversary of World War I (WWI). The essay contest itself will focus on the bravery of and sacrifices made by U.S. veterans from WWI to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To complete this essay, students may interview a family member or a close family friend who is a veteran and/or do online research ( is an excellent resource) to answer the following question: 


As we approach the 100th anniversary of World War I, we remember the services of our friends and family members from the “Great War” (WWI) through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 1) We would like to hear the stories of your family member(s) or close family friend(s) that have contributed to America being the home of the free. Write about their life experiences during and after the war in which they fought. OR 2) Use your research about WWI and write a brief “newspaper editorial” honoring veterans of WWI. 

Information and Guidelines:

Essays will be read by a panel and judged according to adherence to the theme/question, creativity and basic conventions of writing.

  1. Essays should be a maximum of 300 words, researched through veteran interviews, publications, books, internet or classroom studies.
  2. Essays must be typed on 8 ½ by 11-inch paper with a separate cover sheet indicating the student’s name, grade, phone number, email address, school and teacher’s name.
  3. One entry per student.
  4. Submission deadline is November 5, 2018 by 4:00 pm.
  5. All entries become property of the U.S. Veterans Legacy Project.
  6. There will be a first, second and third place winner, with each receiving a cash prize. The winners will be asked to read his/her essay during the 2018 Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony on Monday, November 12 in Media, PA.
  7. All submissions must be emailed to the attention of Mrs. Adriene Irving at Call 610-938-9000 ext. 2061 for further information or if there are any questions or concerns.
  8. The Mary Ryan Memorial Essay Contest is open to all public, private, parochial and home-schooled middle school students (grades 6-8) who reside in or attend schools in Delaware County. Delaware County students who attend schools in other counties are also welcome to enter this contest.
  9. Judging will be completed, and winners notified by November 7, 2018.