UST Names Winners of UST/Archdiocesan Essay Contest
Celebrating the gift of Catholic education, the University of St. Thomas welcomed a crowd of more than 600 Catholic school students, parents, and teachers from 31 schools for the UST/Archdiocesan Essay Contest Mass and Awards Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 5. The event coincided with the nationwide observance of Catholic Schools Week.
The Mass was celebrated by His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, and concelebrated by the Basilian Fathers, Catholic school priests and various and parish priests from the Archdiocese. A luncheon and awards ceremony was held to recognize winners of the essay contest followed the Mass. 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.
Over the last six years, the essay contest has seen the number of participants who initially came from a handful of schools grow from approximately 350 students to a record-breaking 3,196 essay submissions this year. Students could choose from the essay topics, “ways to find peace and hope in a world of conflict,” and “how having a Catholic education helps one lead a Catholic life in a secular world.”
“At the University of St. Thomas, we emphasize the life-long importance of becoming insightful and critical thinkers with superior writing skills,” said Elsie Biron, director of Catholic outreach. “The growing number of participants in this essay contest shows that critical message is shared throughout the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese and embraced by more and more students. The contest is also an opportunity for students to personally reflect on the meaning of their Catholic education.”
Andie Tong, a seventh-grader at St. Anthony of Padua, read her first place essay aloud to the crowd. Read her complete essay.
The first place high school winners were Katherine Quiroz, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, ninth grade; Nicolas Witkowski, St. Thomas High School, 10th grade; Cate Bissell, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, 11th grade; Colin Rog, St. Thomas High School, 12th grade. Read Colin Rog's essay.
View the complete list of first, second and third place winners as well as honorable mentions.
Read the full version of the
The essays were read by a team of dedicated volunteers including Elsie Biron, director of Catholic Outreach; Michelle Carnahan, instructor, Political Science, Rev. Ted Baenziger, CSB, associate professor of French, Tom Crow, Music Program Chair, associate professor of history; Dr. Charlene Dykeman, professor of marketing and management; Professor Angela Escriva, visiting assistant professor of Modern and Classical Languages; Rev. John Gallagher, CSB, Adjunct Professor of theology; Dr. Rogelio Garcia-Contreras - Assistant Professor of international studies; Valerie Hall, administrative assistant for the Center for Thomistic Studies; Mr. MacMichael Henson, Educational Diagnostician, Special Education Appraisal Specialist, UST alumnus; Dr. Sujin Horwitz, assistant professor of marketing and management; Dr. Mary A. Kelleher, assistant professor and reference librarian; Dr. Jerry Kramer, Writing Program administrator and professor of English; Dr. Virginia Leiker, School of Education associate dean and director educational leadership graduate program; Professor Ly Phan, instructor of psychology; Dr. Ravi Srinivas, Dean of Extended Programs; Dr. John Story, associate professor, Marketing and Management; Dr. Ginny Torrres-Rimbau, director of Bilingual and Dual Language Programs; Dr. Mark Turner, associate professor of accounting.
Photos from the event may be viewed and ordered at http://www.kimcoffmanphoto.com.
Shown at top: Catholic school students from around the Archdiocese carry candles in the procession into the Mass. Shown at center from left to right: Elsie Biron, Cardinal DiNardo, Sister Kevina Keating and Dr. Robert Ivany. Shown above: Cardinal DiNardo and St. Thomas High School senior Colin Rog.