Annual 8th Grade Creative Writing Contest

- 8th Grade Creative Writing Contest

Since 1979, the Respect Life Apostolate has sponsored an annual writing competition for 8th grade students planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program. (Catholic students entering a public high school are also encouraged to enter as they're still eligible for an honorable mention prize). 

2018 Contest Information 

The 2018 Respect Life Creative Writing Contest (CWC) is now closed. Submissions were received through Friday, Feb. 23 following these official guidelines. The 2019 contest will open Dec. 3, 2018 (check back for updates).

One-hundred-forty-six finalists -- along with their parents, teachers, principals, and pastors -- were invited to the April 18 Awards Assembly with Archbishop Robert Carlson and other special guests. Six partial scholarships and eight honorable mention prizes were awarded (scroll down for winning entries and photos). Pictured below are the 2018 CWC Finalists (courtesy of Ron Klein Photography LLC):

Read the St. Louis Review article on the 2018 contest here!

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About the Contest 

Students write about the virtue of chastity and how this virtue leads to a healthy, happy, and holy life which helps prevent 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.

Each year, the RLA receives approximately 1,100 entries from students representing 60-plus Catholic day schools, PRS programs, and Catholic home schools. Finalists and scholarship winners are honored at a spring awards ceremony with Archbishop Robert Carlson.

Scholarship Awards

Partial, one-time scholarships are available to the winning writers:

  • One (1) Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship honoring a student from a Catholic elementary school entering a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program.
  • One (1) Mary Forrestal-Hennessey Scholarship awarded to a student who participates in a parish PSR program (including home school students) and is planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program.
  • Two (2) Mr. and Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships awarded to students planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program.
  • One (1) Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship awarded a student from a Catholic elementary school, PSR student, or home school student planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program.
  • One (1) St. Joseph Evangelization Network Scholarship honor a student from a Catholic elementary school, PSR student, or home school student planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program. This award was added in 2017.

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, the Knights of Columbus scholarship (2014), and the St. Joseph Evangelization Network scholarship (2017) were endowed more recently with the same intention.  

The RLA also selects four to eight honorable mention awards. In addition, all scholarship and honorable mention winners and their parents receive four tickets to the annual Respect Life Convention Keynote and Awards banquet.

Questions? Call the Respect Life Apostolate prolife@archstl.org or 314.792.7555.


2018 Winners and Essays

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Click on the individual's name to read the winning essay (PDF)!

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Emmeline Roseberry (St. Margaret of Scotland Grade School and Parish) will be attending Nerinx Hall
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: Meghan Meehan (home school, St. Dominic Savio Parish) will be attending Bishop DuBourg High School
  • Mr. & Mrs George Kletzker Scholarships: Leah Anderson (St. Joseph of Imperial Grade School and Parish) will be attending Ursuline Academy, and Olivia Knobbe (St. Joseph-Josephville Grade School and Parish) will be attending St. Dominic High School
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: John Paul Vlahutin (Annunziata Grade School and Holy Trinity Parish) will be attending Chaminade College Preparatory School
  • St. Joseph Evangelization Network Scholarship: Carlotta Croak (Holy Infant Grade School and Parish) will be attending Villa Duchesne

Honorable Mentions:

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  • Alexander Rodriguez (Holy Trinity Grade School, Our Lady of the Presentation Parish), will be attending DeSmet Jesuit High School
  • Amy Lien Stukenholtz (Sacred Heart-Valley Park Grade School and Parish), will be attending Cor Jesu Academy  
  • Eric Piening (St. Monica Grade School and Parish), will be attending St. Louis University High School
  • Matilda Killeen (St. Margaret of Scotland Grade School and Parish), will be attending  Visitation Academy
  • Gabriel Chase Lancia (Holy Cross Academy, Our Lady of Providence Parish), will be attending St. Pius X High School  
  • Hannah Lifka (St. Peter Grade School, St. Joseph-Imperial Parish), will be attending Lindbergh High School  
  • Hannah King (St. John Paul II Preparatory School, Queen of All Saints Parish) will be continuing her high school education at St. John Paul II  
  • Hope Dery (homeschool, St. Joseph-Cottleville Parish), will be attending St. John Paul II Preparatory School


Past Winners and Essays

2017

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Nicole BergenHoly Spirit Grade School (St. Joseph Academy)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: Natalie McDonoughHoly Spirit Academy Home School [St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville] (St. John Paul II Prep)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships: Gabriel Serri, Immaculate Conception Grade School in Dardenne (St. Dominic High School) and Sarah Hughes, St. Joseph Grade School in Cottleville (St. Joseph Academy)
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: Noah Apprill-Sokol, St. Gabriel the Archangel Grade School (St. Louis University High School)
  • St. Joseph Evangelization Network Scholarship: James Brunts, Academy of the Sacred Heart [St. Charles Borromeo Parish] (St. Louis University High School)

Honorable Mentions

  • Indira Kar, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Grade School (Cor Jesu Academy)
  • Sarah Keys, St. John Paul II Prep [Mary, Queen of Peace] (St. John Paul II Prep)
  • Dallen Nelsen, Home School [St. Gianna Parish] (Home School)
  • John Niebrugge, Home School [St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish] (Home School)

2016

  • Maria Klassen, Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Maria Klassen, St. Joseph Grade School in Cottleville (St. Dominic High School)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: Daniel Vaporean, Home School [St. Joseph Parish in Manchester] (Home School)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships:  Madeline Derleth, St. Joseph Grade School in Cottleville (Barat Academy) and Elle Reardon, St. Clement of Rome (Villa Duchesne)
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: Eric Meyer, St. Charles Borromeo Grade School (Chaminade College Prep)

Honorable Mentions

  • Brianna Dierks, St. Patrick Grade School in Wentzville (Liberty High School)
  • Taylor Elmore, Home School [St. Bridget of Kildare Parish] (St. Francis Borgia High School)
  • Sara Franke, Queen of All Saints Grade School (Nerinx Hall)
  • Patrick Meehan, Home School [St. Dominic Savio Parish] (Bishop DuBourg)
  • Peter Francis Montgomery, St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Home School [St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Parish] (St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Home School)
  • Harrison Petty, St. Clement of Rome Grade School (Saint Louis University High School)