Portland Christian Schools Preschool - Grade 12

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Seventh grader, Rena Shin is recognized by VFW of the United States

Update:  February 22, 2024


As part of her award, she also received prize money this month!
The 2023-2024 annual patriotic theme was “How I am Inspired by America.” Rena’s essay starts with, “I am inspired by America to help and serve others that may not be my family and friends through their tough times. Just like how American soldiers served in many wars for different countries … they were courageous enough to fight in a war that was not happening in their home country… they believed that everyone deserves freedom and that it is worth it for them to risk their life.”
Congratulations Rena for your inspiring essay! Rena’s essay concludes with, “All these people for their bravery, their service and their pride in what they have done and what they do inspires me. I want to follow in their footsteps and help and care about others who need them. Starting with a simple act of kindness to a friend or classmate, I hope it will inspire them to do the same.”


December 22, 2023


Back in October, encouraged by her English teacher Mrs. Lisa Contreras, Rena wrote an essay, which she submitted to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) sponsored youth essay competition. This year’s theme was “How Are You Inspired by America?”

Rena, her teacher, and her family were surprised and delighted when a local district VFW member visited her the last week of school before Christmas break.  He brought with him two certificates and prize money. Rena received the 2023 – 2024 First Place as an Outstanding Young Spokesperson of the Future for VFW Post 4248. 

Rena with her teacher Lisa Contreras

As a first place finisher, she advanced on to the VFW District (regional) level. And again, Rena placed in the first place for District 3!  As first place winner, she’ll now advance to the VFW Department (state) level.  Stay tuned!



The Patriot Pen’s Program, “Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme.” (https://www.vfw.org/community/youth-and-education/youth-scholarships) More than 73,000 students participated last year. This essay competition is open to “6th- 8th grade students in public, private and parochial schools in the U.S.”

Congratulations Rena! We are proud of you.