Eighth Grade Creative Writing Contest

Since 1979, the Respect Life Apostolate (RLA) and archdiocesan Office of Education and Formation has sponsored an annual writing competition for eighth grade students in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. 

About the Contest

The contest gives eighth grade students an opportunity to reflect, pray, research and write about the Gospel of Life including how to build a Culture of Life, the virtue of chastity, how to prevent abortion, walking with pregnant and parenting moms in their community, etc. Each year, the Archdiocese of St. Louis receives hundreds of entries from students from Catholic day schools, PRS programs, and Catholic home schools. Finalists and scholarship winners are honored at a spring archdiocesan awards ceremony, at the annual Respect Life Convention and by their own parish/school community.

Next year's contest will open in early 2023. Applications and guidelines will be available after that time from your parish, Catholic school or Catholic home school association/co-op through which students enter the contest. To learn more, please contact the RLA at [email protected] or 314.792.7559. 

Contest Scholarships & Awards

Students compete for finalist prizes, awards to the annual Steubenville St. Louis Mid-American Catholic Youth Conference in July, Generation Life Pilgrimage to Washington, DC in January, and scholarships towards their freshman year tuition at a Catholic high school. In addition, award winners also receive complimentary tickets and are recognized at the archdiocesan Respect Life Convention in October.

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship
  • Mr. and Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship
  • Respect Life Apostolate Scholarship

The Bishop O’Donnell and Forrestal Hennessey scholarships were founded in the 1970s to encourage students to examine the facts regarding abortion and chastity, and especially how these issues impact their own lives. The Kletzker, Knights of Columbus (2014), and Respect Life Apostolate (2020) scholarships were established more recently with the same intention. 

2022 Scholarship Winners & Essays 

Click on the individual's name to read the winning essay (PDF file).

Scholarship Winners

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Henry Reardon (St. Clement of Rome Parish & School) will be attending De Smet Jesuit High School
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: George Volmert (St. Francis Borgia Parish School of Religion) will be attending St. Francis Borgia Regional High School
  • Mr. and Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship: Isaac Aguayo (St. Frances Cabrini Academy/St. Cecilia Parish) will be attending St. Louis University High School
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: Isabella Heit (Holy Infant Parish & School), will be attending St. Joseph Academy
  • Respect Life Apostolate Scholarship: Sera Juliet Siemer (The St. Austin School/Oratory of Ss. Gregory & Augustine) will be attending Cor Jesu Academy

 Generation Life Pilgrimage/Steubenville Youth Conference Winners

  • Veronica Griesbauer (St. Gianna Parish) will be attending the Griesbauer Home School
  • Maura Niebrugge (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish) will be attending Seton Home Study School
  • Chidube Nwankwo (Holy Infant Parish & School) will be attending St. Louis University High School
  • Josie O'Brien (St. Gerard Majella Parish & School), will be attending Cor Jesu Academy
  • John Schultz (St. Paul Parish & School [St. Paul]), will be attending St. Dominic High School 

Finalists

Congratulations to the 25 Archdiocesan Finalists of the 2022 contest who were recognized at the April 21 Awards Dinner.  

2021 Scholarship Winners & Essays

Click, then scroll for the St. Louis Review article on the 2021 contest.

Click on the individual's name to read the winning essay (PDF file).

  • Bishop Edward O'Donnell Scholarship: Lily Heit (Holy Infant) will be attending St. Joseph Academy
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships:
    • Avery Eisenhart (Ascension - Chesterfield) will be attending St. Joseph Academy
    • William Ortbals (Ascension - Chesterfield) will be attending De Smet Jesuit High School
  • Respect Life Apostolate Scholarship: Bella Elpers (St. Alban Roe) will be attending St. Joseph Academy  

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