Annual 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.

Students 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. 

(Recipients of the 2009 Respect Life Creative Writing Contest award are shown with archdiocesan administrator Bishop Robert J. Hermann. The recipients, from left, are Deanne Pisarkiewicz, Christina Belt, Megan Reschke and Brian Suhre.)

2014 Creative Writing Contest Information

Please find following some guidelines for the contest, an application form, and a list of resources.

General Information and Application 2014
Principal's Introductory Letter 2014
PSR Introductory Letter 2014
Resource List 2014

Many of the books listed are available to borrow from our office. We have several excellent brochures on chastity and abortion.  Please call 314-792-7559 for a sample packet.  The brochures cost $0.20 each, but if the cost would be a burden we would be happy to provide them at a discounted rate. Students are welcome to cite information from these resources or others, but must give the proper attribution to the quoted text.  If we discover at any point in the review process that a student has not attributed quoted material, he or she will be automatically ineligible.

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. The Respect Life Apostolate will judge and select the four top entries. The $1000 scholarship will be applied directly to that student’s tuition charge or curriculum expenses from an accredited Catholic home school association. We also encourage schools to conduct their own in house judging of these essays so that more students may be recognized for their efforts.

Finally, we suggest you have a speaker from our office talk with your students about chastity and/or abortion.  We believe this would be a valuable complement for your classroom teachers’ lessons.  The chastity lesson covers the many blessings of chastity as well as the negative consequences of living an unchaste life.  The abortion lesson is a compassionate overview of this very sensitive subject. 

Thank you for all that you do to foster respect life values within your students.  If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please feel free to contact us at any time.

Past Winners   

Click here to read the winning entries for 2011.

The St. Louis Review featured the 2009 Finalists, Winners and Honorable Mentions.