Annual 8th Grade Creative Writing Contest

8th Grade Creative Writing Contest

The RLA sponsors an annual writing competition for 8th grade students planning to attend a Catholic high school. Four $1,000 scholarships are available to the winning writers:

  • One (1) Bishop O'Donnell Scholarship honors a student from a Catholic elementary school.
  • One (1) Mary Forrestal-Hennessey Scholarship awards a student from a public grade school who attends a Parish School of Religion program.
  • Two (2) Mr. and Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships award students from either kind of school.

The O’Donnell and Forrestal Hennessey scholarships were founded in the 1970s to encourage students to examine the facts regarding abortion and chastity, and especially how these issues impact their own lives. The two Kletzker scholarships were endowed more recently with the same intention. 

2014 Creative Writing Contest FinalistsStudents write about the virtue of chastity and how this virtue relates to abortion. The RLA feels it is very important for young people to understand this virtue, especially in light of the often casual attitude toward sexual relationships in our society today.

Nearly 100 schools and PSR programs participate, with more than 1,200 students submitting an entry. Finalists and scholarship winners are honored at a spring awards ceremony. 

2015 Creative Writing Contest Information

Information for the 2015 contest will be available in early December 2014.  Information will be sent directly to Catholic grade school principals, PSR program directors, and Catholic homeschool associations as well as being posted here.

Past Winners & Essays  


  • Bishop Edward O'Donnell Scholarship
    Daniel Reardon, St. Clement of Rome (DeSmet Jesuit High School)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennesy Scholarship
    Dakota Nelson, St. Gianna Home School Co-op (John Paul II Preparatory School)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship
    Larissa O'Shea, St. Monica (St. Joseph's Academy) 
    Keith Beckmann, St. Cletus (St. Dominic High School)
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship
    Hector Rivera, Christ Light of the Nations [Our Lady of the Rosary Parish] (Chaminade)
  • Honorable Mention 
    Sydney England, St. Paul Fenton School (Cor Jesu Academy)
    Addison Estes, John Paul II Prep [St. Alban Roe Parish] (John Paul II Prep)
    Isabelle Honigfort, John Paul II Prep [St. Stephen Parish - Richwood, MO] (John Paul II Prep)
    Daniel Newman, St. Charles Borromeo School (St. Charles West or CBC) 
    Elise Olwig, St. Gabriel the Archangel School (Nerinx Hall) 


  • Bishop Edward O'Donnell Scholarship
    Michael Geer, Immaculate Conception (CBC)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennesy Scholarship
    Clare Holman, Homeschool [Cure of Ars Parish] (Cor Jesu)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship
    Kristin Meyer, St. Charles Borromeo (Barat Academy)
    Michael Novak, Holy Trinity (Chaminade College Prep) 
  • Honorable Mention
    Connor Osthoff, St. Cletus School (Duchesne High School)
    Natalie Schroeder, St. Cletus School (Duchesne High School)
    Jessica Squellati, Wildhorse Elemntary (St. Joseph Academy)
    Sarah Walker, Holy Infant (Kennedy Catholic High School) 


  • Bishop Edward O'Donnell Scholarship
    Elizabeth Hayes, St. Monica (St. Joseph Academy)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennesy Scholarship
    Benjamin Krapu, St. Catherine Laboure PSR (St. Louis University High School)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship
    Shelby Warden, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Trinity Catholic High School)
    Matthew Frein, St. Gerard Majella (St. Louis University High School) 
  • Honorable Mention
    Jessica Bromeier, Most Sacred Heart (St. Francis Borgia) 
    Christian Ferguson, St. Patrick (Holt High School)
    Colleen Gosser, St. Peter-Kirkwood PSR (Bishop DuBourg High School) 
    Louis Hancock, Holy Trinity (Ritenour High School)
    Devin Nelson, St. Gianna PSR (St. Dominic High School)
    Joshua Skaggs, Our Lady - Festus (St. Pius X High School)