Congratulations to all of our amazing winners in the 2018 Pro-Life Essay Contest! 

I know it’s February, but trust me when I say it was no small task for our judges to decide upon winners from the hundreds and hundreds of essays that poured into our contest. These essays were outstanding, passionate, and full of wisdom. The prompts this year were meant to really challenge our students to think about what it means to build a culture of life. And did they ever meet that challenge!

They wrote about how they are helping to build a culture of life:

Being a big sister is really hard, but it is worth it because little siblings are so lovable. And our foster babies love us as much as we love them. Being a foster family is not just long-term babysitting. We are making a family for the children who need it. I think being a foster family is the best way to be pro-life and the best way to take up my cross like Jesus.– Louisa Burke, grade 4 (1st place)

Whether young or old, born or preborn, sick or healthy, everyone has value and worth because God made us and loves us! Treasuring others as gifts from God can be as simple as a kind remark, a Hail Mary, or a smile.– Paola Victoria Castillo, grade 5 (honorable mention)

They wrote about true pro-life love: 

We often think of love as that kissy-face, I-want-to-marry-you stuff, but love is best demonstrated by caring for someone more than you care for yourself. Well, Papo’s wife, Sue (“Mumo”), was sick and dying. It took a lot to care for her. He had to abandon all of his favorite hobbies. He had to pay for medical care and for her to go to a nursing home. He couldn’t see his friends or family much, and still, he was always by her side. He was right by her bed when she drew her final breath. He was with her until the end. He was certainly a witness for the culture of life.– Jack Biggs, grade 6 (2nd place)

They wrote about their own pain and how they are using it to change the culture: 

Suffering can show others the dignity in each stage of every person’s life. Carrying your cross can help show different people that life is a gift and should be respected. My family chose to accept their cross faithfully, in the loss of our baby brother, and was an example to my mom’s relatives, doctors, nurses, and those who worked at the funeral home. My parents’ suffering will also hopefully create a better support system for other Catholics in our city who have lost a child through miscarriage or stillbirth.– Mary-Clare Franco, grade 8 (3rd place)

They articulately explained death with dignity: 

Through my aunt’s courageous example, it has only strengthened my belief that human worth rests in who we are as God’s children, not in what we can do or how long we can do it for. Through my aunt’s embrace of suffering, she was a witness to the value and dignity of every man, by trusting in God and His divine masterpiece of the timespan of our lives. 

While our culture sees death with dignity as being dying on your own terms, true death with dignity is knowing your worth in Christ and His plan for all your days, and to carry His cross and embrace suffering. – Julianna Purcell, grade 11 (honorable mention)

They shared their hearts and brought to light a beauty that the world overlooks:

I realized that this precious, seemingly delicate girl, who is considered by many in this world to be a lesser person than I am, was a courageous model for me to follow. She demonstrates daily, with conviction, the inherent value of humanity and the appreciation for the gift of life. She smiles at the lonely, unnoticed, homeless man; waves cheerful greetings to the rushed grocery store cashier; and brings a smile to the face of the depressed and lonely widow. This little girl who cannot say the words “I love you,” who cannot bring food to her own mouth, and who cannot bathe herself, is able to overcome exterior obstacles and shine with interior beauty. – Rita Rogers, grade 12 (1st place)

The hospice team helped my mom and dad care for him and all of his medical needs. I remember every day I so badly wanted to hold him. I was by his side a lot and I just always wanted to play with him. I woke up to see him every morning, for weeks. My brother lived for seven short months. Then came the saddest day of my our lives. My brother died. I will always love him and never forget about my brother Blake. Our family was blessed to have had Blake in our family. . . . As a family, we also celebrate my brother’s birthday by having cake. We would not have had the chance to know Blake if my parents would have had an abortion. –Riley Durdel (top 25)

They challenged their readers to be reflective:

As He dies, Christ gazes upon the young woman in a crisis pregnancy, upon the man with a terminal illness, upon the young person entrenched in despair, and upon each soul. “Follow me,” He whispers. Christians, and therefore pro-life advocates, must respond to this call to suffering. In doing so, a Christian reveals the beauty of the cross to those tempted by the “easy” solutions of abortion, euthanasia, and suicide, and demonstrates the inherent value that human life possesses at every moment. Through taking up one’s cross, hope can be extended to the hopeless, and the glory of the Resurrection can be unveiled to a culture shrouded in the midst of death.– Larisa Tuttle, grade 11 (honorable mention)

They called their readers to action: 

Now is the time for people, or rather heroes, to step forward—people who, though bruised, battered, or riddled with sickness, still strive to aid their fellow man. We need people who, through the agony of their own leprosies, lead their men at the front of battle, and people who, no matter what happens, remember that the little things in life make all the difference. This world needs people who can suffer heroically and by doing so take up their crosses boldly every day and change the world. The only question is: Who will they be?Conor Stevens, grade 9 (honorable mention)

They shared their growth:

It is through my love and example and that of my siblings that they can learn the most. I appreciate more what God has given me. When I fuss about doing my laundry and a foster child tells me that he used to wash his one set of clothes in the river, I stop complaining. – London Gutekunst, grade 7 (2nd place)

They showed their knowledge of what it means to be 100% pro-life:

Everyone is a child of God, no matter what size, shape, or color. Everyone’s life is important, even if they are in the mother’s womb or in an elderly home in Arizona. You never know if the person you abort could be the next saint or have a great passion for God. Or they could just be a regular person.– Story Stell, grade 5 (top 25)

Everyone is created in God’s will because if He didn’t want to do create us, we would not be here right now. When someone dies through abortion, it interrupts God’s will because that one special person to God has died. Death is intended to be a decision made by God. When we choose abortion, we are choosing to do God’s job for Him.– Emma Deters, grade 7 (top 25)

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Please head over to prolifeessay.comand share the essays that you find far and wide. This generation is beautiful and full of passion for life and we feel honored to have been able to read each and every essay. I only wish we could have published every single one. Thank you to all of the parents and educators who are instilling in your students a love of life and truth. And thank you to the students who are using their voices and their stories to build a culture of life!

Catherine Daub is a devoted wife, mother to seven inspiring children, and the Director of the Culture of Life Studies Program.