Six middle and high school students representing Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia have received cash awards for their winning submissions in “Maryknoll” magazine’s 28th annual Maryknoll Student Essay Contest. “Maryknoll” magazine is published by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.
The 2016 essay theme, “Caring for Our Common Home,” referenced Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si'” in which he calls on all people to respect and to stop exploiting our world and its limited and diminishing resources. “The earth cries out to us,” wrote Pope Francis, “because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.”
For their essays, students were asked to explain the importance of heeding the pope’s call and to provide at least two examples of students, or others, engaged in activities that respect the earth.
The contest received 7,261 entries from students who competed in two divisions (grades six to eight and grades nine to 12) for nearly $3,000 in cash prizes. The awards included $1,000 for each of the two first-place finalists, $300 for each of the two second-place finalists and $150 for each of the two third-place award recipients.
According to Marge Gaughan, contest coordinator and “Maryknoll” magazine managing editor, students are passionate about protecting the environment, and their essays reflected many creative ideas and actions that are designed to correct centuries of abuse of God’s creation.
The panel of more than 50 judges comprised of Maryknoll missioners was elated to read the essays that conveyed thousands of examples of people caring for the earth.
“Every year, it is a delight to read the essays submitted to the Maryknoll Student Essay Contest,” said Father Emile Dumas, M.M. “This year was no exception. The essays are a good way to connect with the young folks. They renew my hope in the future of the Catholic Church in the U.S. and throughout the world. I pray for all the students and teachers who participated in the essay contest. May God continue to generously bless them!”