Rockland’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post and Ladies Auxiliary will host a “Patriot’s Pen Contest,” the national organization’s annual essay competition open to all US students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Typewritten 300- to 400-word essays on the topic “What Patriotism Means to Me” will be accepted until Nov. 1 at the Rockland post. The competition is local, but winning essays may advance to the district, state, or national level. The top 46 national finalists will each receive a $500 prize and the national winner will be awarded $5,000. Last year, no students from Massachusetts became finalists, though two state organizations paid for finalist prizes. For more information, students can visit www.vfw.org/community/patriot-s-pen.