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UST Names Winners of UST/Archdiocesan Essay Contest

UST Names Winners of UST/Archdiocesan Essay Contest Students, parents and teachers from Catholic schools in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese gathered for the eighth annual University of St. Thomas/Archdiocesan Essay Contest Awards Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 3 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. More than 500 people from 47 schools attended the events, which included a prayer service led by the Most. Rev. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and a reception at the Cathedral Centre.

Students from third through 12th grades wrote essays on topics such as their relationship with God in light of how Facebook has changed friendships, the greatest lesson they ever learned, people who exemplify ‘Faith in Practice,’ Christ’s call to serve others, the difference between faith and belief, and the student’s experience of faith, academics and service.

Tristen DuhonStudents entered 4,705 essays into the contest, and schools selected the finalists to submit to the University of St. Thomas. Finalist essays from each grade level were read and ranked by 22 UST faculty and staff members, who chose 656 winners. The young authors had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with Cardinal DiNardo, UST President Dr. Robert Ivany and Superintendent of Catholic Schools Sister Kevina Keating, CCVI. View the participating schools.

The University offered $1,000 scholarships to first place high school winners who enroll at UST after graduation. The scholarship winners were: ninth-grader Lauren Badger of Incarnate Word Academy; 10th-graders Eugenia Markantonis of St. Pius X High School and Isabel Sutter of St. Agnes Academy; 11th-grader Julia Voltz of Incarnate Word Academy; and 12th-graders Andiede Tranaltes of St. Agnes Academy and Samantha Holt of St. Pius X High School.

The essays from first place winners in every grade level were enlarged as posters and put on display at the reception.

“This contest is an opportunity for students to personally reflect on the meaning of their Catholic education,” said Elsie Biron, director of Catholic Outreach. “At the University of St. Thomas, we emphasize the life-long importance of becoming insightful and critical thinkers with superior writing skills.”

Kids ProcessionBiron said the contest received the highest number of essays this year, and more Catholic schools participated than ever before.

“The number of participants in this essay contest shows that the critical message is shared throughout the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese and embraced each year by more and more students,” she said.

The Essay Contest was sponsored by the UST Catholic Outreach Office and coincided with the nationwide observance of Catholic Schools Week. View photos of the Essay Contest Awards.

For more information, contact Elsie Biron, 713-525-3171 or

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.
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