A group of students from McLoughlin Middle School in Pasco are finalists in the Patriot's Pen essay contest.
The students wrote essay-length answers to the question "Are you proud of your country?" The annual contest is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The students are Andre Voloshin, Race Bynum, Reed Tupper, Joel Rangel, Adrianna McKinney, Eric Castaneda, Taylor Woehle, Tenhya Keister and Glendy Ibarra.
They will receive their awards at a ceremony at VFW James E. Rosselot Post 5785, at 28 E. 10th Ave. in Kennewick, at 6 p.m. Friday.
Local winners will advance to a regional competition. Winners of that contest will go to Washington, D.C., to read their essays to veterans, and will receive $10,000 U.S. Savings Bonds.