Marsh School seventh-grader Nicolas Ruffini was the recipient of the VFW Post 8349 Patriot Pen essay scholarship. The topic of this year’s essay was, “How are you inspired by America?” A portion of Nicolas’ essay read, “I am inspired by America’s history and the amazing people who helped shape today and will help shape tomorrow. From the first Pilgrims discovering America to the men and women who have defended our country across several wars and battles, I am inspired to do my best and not take our freedom for granted.” He received $250 from the Methuen VFW and $250 from the district, and now heads to the state competition. This scholarship is open to all sixth- to eighth-graders. Shown are (from left) VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Candy Yates, VFW Quartermaster David O’Neil, Methuen School Committee member Louann Santos, Nicolas Ruffini, VFW Commander Guy Curtis and VFW Adjutant Ed Dionne.

MethuenLife photo by Nancy Reardon