Two Fort Dodge eighth-graders who wrote about what they'd like to say to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the country's Founding Fathers were honored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1856 Wednesday evening.
Andy Schertz won first place in the Patriots Pen essay contest and received a $100 prize.
Hayley Howard won second place and a $50 prize.
Roger Simonson, who coordinates the contest for the local VFW post, said Schertz's essay has been entered into a statewide competition.
Simonson said the theme of this year's contest was ''What would I tell our founding fathers?''
Schertz wrote that he would thank them for giving him freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
''I would tell them that they are my idols,'' he wrote.
Schertz also wrote that he would tell them about all the major events in the country's history, especially the wars that have been fought to protect freedom.
He is the son of Jennifer Schertz, and attends St. Paul Lutheran School. He said he spent about an hour and a half on his essay.
Howard wrote that she would thank the founding fathers for the sacrifices they made to create the United States of America. Her essay also emphasized the sacrifices made by troops and their families in the years since the nation was founded.
She said that her class at Community Christian School was talking about the nation's wars and ''something just kind of clicked,'' giving her the idea for her essay. She spent about an hour and a half to two hours on it.
She is the daughter of Jeff and Glenda Howard.
The Patriots Pen contest is an annual event open to students in sixth through eighth grades.