Talons Out Honor Flight Student Essay Contest



essay-contestTalons Out Honor Flight (TOHF) works closely with schools throughout southern Michigan to ensure that the heroic stories of our veterans are shared so that future generations will fully appreciate the sacrifices made on their behalf. We now want to take that mission to a whole new level with this exciting new student essay contest for students in grades 6 through 12.

  1. Michigan middle and high school students (in the TOHF service area, see map on page 2) are invited to partner with a teacher/parent/mentor to research a deceased WWII veteran or Korean War veteran from Michigan.
  1. Research will culminate in an essay and eulogy for the veteran.
  1. The winning student and teacher/parent/mentor will be invited, at no cost to them, to join TOHF on our April 22, 2017* Honor Flight to Washington DC, where the student will deliver their eulogy at Arlington National Cemetery.

2017 Time Line

December 1 – February 28:  Contest runs.

February 28:  All essays are due to TOHF by 5pm.  Project, with video on a flash drive, may be mailed to:  PO Box 280, Portage, MI  49024, with a postmark of February 28; or emailed to: essay@talonsouthonorflight.org, with a link to your video, by 5 p.m. on February 28.

April 11:  Winner announced.

April 15:  Winning student and teacher/parent/mentor attend TOHF guardian training, location to be determined.

April 22:  All day Honor Flight from Kalamazoo, MI to Washington, DC.  Arrive at airport at 5am, return at 8:30pm (approximate).

*Date subject to change based on airline availability


  1. Essays will focus on the military service and life story of a deceased WWII or Korean War Veteran from Michigan.
  2. Contest open to any southern Michigan middle or high school student within the TOHF service area, see map below.
  3. Student and teacher/parent/mentor must be willing to do media interviews.VE6-12
  4. Essay should include:
  • Background of the veteran before their service years
  • Account of veteran’s wartime duties, years and branch of service
  • At least one photo of the veteran
  • Bibliography of sources
  • A video of student reading the eulogy for their veteran (can be a private YouTube link)
  • Eulogy should be a condensed version of the student essay

Questions should be directed to:  Essay@talonsouthonorflight.org, or leave a voicemail for Essay Contest at:  269-273-4545.  (Please note, this is a message service that is monitored daily by volunteers.  It may take 24 to 48 hours for someone to get back to you.)



Talons Out Honor Flight serves veterans in counties outlined in Pink: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, *Kent, Lenawee, Monroe, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne | Flying from: GRR (Grand Rapids International); AZO (Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Intl)

Official rules and procedures