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Faith And Reason Essay Contest For Kids

‘Each of Us Is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation!’

The Northern Cross

The Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Duluth, funded by the United Catholic Appeal and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Home Mission, is proud to announce the winners of the second annual middle and high school respect life essay competition.

The contest strives to promote the ability of middle school students and high school students to articulate the need to respect life. The theme of this year’s competition was “Each of Us Is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation!” The contest was open to all fifth- through 12th-graders of the diocese.

Below are the winning essays.

Middle School

God made us individual from each other because he called each of us to different missions in our lives. It is how we choose to respond to his call that plays a part in defining who we are. Pope

Francis tells us that “we must ask the Lord for the grace to see ourselves and others as he sees us.”

The sick and the old need love and care. If more people would take time out of their busy lives to visit, spend time and give the love and care to the elderly that they once gave to us, the world would be a better place. The elderly should not be made to feel lonely or forgotten.

The unborn need hope, faith and someone to fight for their lives. We can be that voice. Even though we are young we shouldn’t be afraid to support this cause by speaking out about this injustice. If we all fought for the unborn the world would be a better place. The unborn should never be forgotten.

The poor need support from those who have more. If every person gave to those in need the world would be a

better place. This would be done by volunteering and supporting local shelters and making donations to organizations. The poor should be treated with love and respect.

We are all masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to go to heaven, deserving of respect. We can answer God’s call by helping others, especially those in most need.

Noah Paulson
Sixth Grade
St. James Catholic School, Duluth

High School

God created each of us unique, the way he wanted us to be. We each have a set destiny pathed before us. Our lives are a mystery but are precious and should be cherished. Each of us are masterpieces of God’s creation. Through this, we must honor God by taking care of what he gave us. We should live our lives with God as our most important priority. God has individually handcrafted who we are, so we should embrace the good in us! Our lives are masterpieces of God’s work, meaning you are not average or ordinary; you are a one-of-a-kind original!

Showing kindness and respect for all people, forgiving others, loving everyone, helping those in need and promoting peace are among some of the things we can do to live our lives as a masterpiece of God’s creation. Be sure to appreciate every beautiful thing, help to build something good to humanity that will endure even when you’re gone, and be a good influence, because whether you know it or not you are an influence to somebody. But most of all, love God and one another with a compassion of reason and heart.

Remember you are one of God’s valued treasures, hand-picked by him, for him. He created you exactly how he intended you to be. So stand tall and strong, with the confidence to speak your mind and make good decisions. God has a specific and notable purpose for your life. We must search for this purpose though. It isn’t always obvious. And that’s the beauty in life; you never know what’s around the corner. Life is a beautiful thing given to us by God.

I’m sure we all have heard the quote, “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” If you can change someone’s life for the better, there has to be some value in yourself. We were all born with special talents and gifts. Sometimes, we don’t even know we have these talents until an event happens in our life, and our true identities are revealed. We are continually given opportunities to use our talents to help others in our daily interactions. Every single one of these moments is valuable beyond our realization. We might never know how even a small gesture can affect one’s life. We may not affect the entire world, but changing one life at a time is a step in the right direction.

You have more in you that you realize, and you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible. Respect the life you were given and the lives around you. God has created you and everyone physically and spiritually unique. If you use your talents to help others, our world may become a better place for all. Each of us is equally important, and we can learn from each others and combine our talents to do incredible things.

Josephine Terry
Proctor High School, Proctor
St. Rose Church, Proctor

Runners up
Middle School

Elizabeth Emmel
St. James Catholic School, Duluth

Isabelle Stauber
St. James Catholic School, Duluth

High School

Jennifer Babolik
Immaculate Conception Parish,
Pine City High School

Exciting announcement ahead!

HSLDA’s writing contest is opening in September! Like past contests, there will be three age group categories with corresponding prompts and cash prizes:

Category 1 (ages 7-10): If you could be an animal, which one would you be and why?

Category 2 (ages 11-14): If you could travel outside of your country, where would you go and why?

Category 3 (ages 15–19*): Considering the role gratitude and generosity play in personal happiness, how should you and your peers approach life after high school? Write a persuasive essay outlining the values and ambitions that your generation should adopt to positively impact your lives.

Should you encourage your child to join? Absolutely! Here’s why:

  1. Motivation and Creativity: Writing papers only for school or a grade can sometimes create a black hole for drained creativity. However, entering a contest provides an inspiring goal of writing for a bigger audience and for a prize/recognition, thus encouraging your child to do his or her best work! Plus, the writing process often sparks new, fresh ideas and provides an outlet to try a new writing style or technique!
  2. Practice and Perseverance: As those who have faced a blank screen know, excellent writing requires both effort and practice. Writing for a contest encourages students to follow triumphantly through the sometimes daunting stages of writing like the occasional writer’s block and rounds of editing. An essay provides that outlet and reason to write and rewrite!
  3. Confidence: Like taking that first-ever dive underwater, plunging into the writing community can be scary at first. Writing is personal, so letting others read and criticize your work takes courage. In turn, essay contests can build self-esteem, since it gives you and others a chance give the child recognition and encouragement for a job well done! Plus, it provides a satisfying feeling of accomplishment!
  4. Boundaries: Writing contests provide structure in the form of deadlines, word count, and a specific writing prompt. It provides children practice with following directions. At the same time, rather than becoming overwhelmed with “writing anything you want,” it provides helpful parameters within which to practice writing and tap into creativity! If you are wondering about the guidelines for this contest, check out our page.
  5. Life lessons: Winning or losing in contests offers opportunities to dialogue meaningfully with your children about important life skills like healthy competition, sportsmanship, and how to handle potential failure. Win-win!
  6. Broadens perspective:Writing encourages writers to stretch their thoughts and emotions both internally and relationally. Not only do children have a chance to think about their own thoughts and feelings about a topic they may not have considered before, but to consider the larger world in a way they might not have before. What will your audience think about the topic? How do you write in a way that will encourage, motivate, or inspire your audience?
  7. Improves Communication: Writing prompts children to think deeply about a topic and formulate an articulate conclusion for an intended audience, which is an invaluable life skill. Oftentimes, we find we don’t really understand something until we have the opportunity to articulate and explain it to others.

Not only will the contest benefit your child, but proceeds from the contest will also bless families through the Homeschool Foundation, the charitable arm of HSLDA. Among other outreaches, they seek to help widows, and hurting families who are struggling to homeschool through hard times. By participating in the contest, your family will be helping to enrich the lives of others in the homeschooling community!

For more information about the contest, check out our page:

We are looking forward to reading the entries!

-HSLDA team

(Thank you to Vicki Bentley, Krisa Winn, Carol Becker, Kristy Horner, and Anna Soltis for all idea and writing contributions!)

Photo Credit: Graphic by Anna Soltis.

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