Six middle and high school students representing Connecticut, Florida, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas have received cash awards for their winning submissions in Maryknoll magazine’s annual Maryknoll Student Essay Contest. Maryknoll magazine is published by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, the overseas mission society of the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.
The 2012 theme of New Neighbors asked students to consider the experiences of people who must adapt to a different environment and lifestyle. Keeping in mind the words of Jesus (“to love your neighbor as you love yourself”), the assignment required students to describe an experience that involved newcomers that they witnessed, or to explain a similar story that had been shared with them. The students also were required to consider the ways they could help new neighbors feel welcome.
More than 5,400 entries were received from students who competed in two divisions (grades six to eight and grades nine to 12) for nearly $3,000 in cash prizes. The awards included $1,000 for each of the two first place finalists, $300 for each of the two second place finalists and $150 to each of the two third place award recipients.
The essays written by the first place winners in each category will be published in the May/June 2013 issue of Maryknoll magazine. All winning essays will be published online within the next few months.
“We were very impressed by the students’ depth of insight and compassion,” said Margaret Gaughan, managing editor of Maryknoll magazine and coordinator of its annual essay contest. “So many of these young people were able to put themselves in the shoes of newcomers and challenge prejudice and discrimination.”
The 2012 Maryknoll Student Essay Contest Awards are presented to:
Division I (grades six to eight)
First Place ($1,000): The Bishop Francis X. Ford Award is named in honor of the Maryknoll priest who died in a prison in China during 1952.
- Divine Webber (seventh grade), Holy Trinity Catholic School, Grapevine, Texas.
Second Place ($300)
- Anna Harward (seventh grade), Annunciation Catholic School, Middleburg, Florida.
Third Place ($150)
- Elyse Decker (eighth grade), Holy Family Catholic School, Orlando, Florida.
Division II (grades 9–12)
First Place ($1,000): The Bishop Patrick J. Byrne Award is named for the missioner who died on a forced march in Korea during 1950.
- Erin Brill (12th grade), Bethlehem Catholic High School, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Second Place ($300)
- Adonai Ann Sebastian (12th grade), Brookfield High School, Brookfield, Connecticut.
Third Place: $150
- Nicole Blanco-Mills (12th grade), Blanchet Catholic School, Salem, Oregon.