Eighth Grade Creative Writing Contest

Since 1979, the Respect Life Apostolate has sponsored an annual writing competition for 8th grade students planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program. (Catholic students entering a public high school are also encouraged to enter as they're still eligible for an honorable mention prize). 

About the Contest

Students write about the virtue of chastity and how this virtue leads to a healthy, happy, and holy life which helps prevent abortion. The RLA feels it is very important for young people to understand this virtue, especially in light of the often casual attitude toward sexual relationships in our society today.

Each year, the RLA receives approximately 1,100 entries from students representing 60-plus Catholic day schools, PRS programs, and Catholic home schools. Finalists and scholarship winners are honored at a spring awards ceremony with Archbishop Robert Carlson.

The 2020 contest will open Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.  Applications and guidelines will be are available after that date from your pastor's office, Catholic school principal, Parish School of Religion director, Catholic Home School association/co-op, or by contacting the RLA at prolife@archstl.org or 314-792-7555 (leave a voicemail if not immediately available). 

2019 Official Finalist Group Photo636983783299656998

Scholarship Awards

Partial, one-time scholarships are available to the winning writers:

  • One (1) Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship honoring a student from a Catholic elementary school entering a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program.
  • One (1) Mary Forrestal-Hennessey Scholarship awarded to a student who participates in a parish PSR program (including home school students) and is planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program.
  • Two (2) Mr. and Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships awarded to students planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program.
  • One (1) Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship awarded a student from a Catholic elementary school, PSR student, or home school student planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program.
  • One (1) St. Joseph Evangelization Network Scholarship honor a student from a Catholic elementary school, PSR student, or home school student planning to attend a Catholic high school or accredited Catholic home school program. This award was added in 2017.

The 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 two Kletzker scholarships, the Knights of Columbus scholarship (2014), and the St. Joseph Evangelization Network scholarship (2017) were endowed more recently with the same intention.

The RLA also selects four to nine honorable mention awards. In addition, all scholarship and honorable mention winners and their parents receive four tickets to the annual Respect Life Convention Keynote and Awards banquet.

2019 Winners & Essays 

2019 Official Scholarship Photo636983855933467790

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

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Riley Cappozzo (St. Joseph [Imperial] School & Parish) will be attending St. Pius X High School 
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: Anastasia Griesbauer (home school student from St. Gianna Parish) will be continuing her Catholic home school education 
  • Mr. & Mrs George Kletzker Scholarships: Luke Rosenberg (South City Catholic Academy & St. Joan of Arc Parish) will be attending St. Louis University High School; and Caitlin Barry (St. Gerard Majella School & Parish) will be attending Nerinx Hall  
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: Charlie Schueppert (Holy Infant School & Parish) will be attending Vianney High School 
  • St. Joseph Evangelization Network Scholarship: Maggie Alexander (Academy of Sacred Heart from St. Peter [St. Charles] Parish) will be attending Visitation Academy 

2019 Honorable Mentions

2019 Official HR Photo636983857603676070

  • Hannah Bergman (St. Joseph [Cottleville] School & Parish) will be attending St. Dominic High School 
  • Alexis Esker (St. Simon the Apostle School & Parish) will be attending St. Joseph Academy
  • Phoebe Glover (Immaculate Conception [Dardenne Prairie] School & Parish) will be attending St. Dominic High School 
  • Jessica Kelly (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque School & Parish) will be attending Notre Dame High School 
  • Zoe Lloyd (Ascension [Chesterfield] School & Parish) will be attending Marquette High School 
  • Emily Moelm (Ridgewood Middle School, St. Paul [Fenton] Parish) will be attending Cor Jesu Academy
  • Sienna Mose (home school student from Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish) will be attending Cor Jesu Academy 
  • Thomas Niebrugge (home school student from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque), will be continuing his Catholic home school education 
  • Anna Stirton (St. Paul II Preparatory School from St. Mary Parish [Alton, IL]) will be continuing her education at St. John Paul II