by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — If there’s one thing we can learn from the Serra Club of Kansas City in Kansas’ annual essay contest, it’s this: The kids are all right.
The Serra Club, which exists to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life, solicited essays from sixth grade students attending Catholic schools in Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties.
The topic was: “Why are priests, Brothers, Sisters and deacons necessary for the mission of the Catholic Church?”
Fourteen schools responded, submitting a total of 28 entries. The Serrans honored the school principals, teachers, parents, other family members and, most importantly, the student winners at its March 22 lunch meeting at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee.
“I think what impressed me the most is that these are sincere students who gave some thought to their essays,” said Daniel Meara, a member of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kansas, and this year’s contest chairman.
“[The essays] are quite eloquent. I would say they are above and beyond what you might expect from a sixth grader. They are extremely well- written. It is our hope that this contest will, perhaps, generate interest among the youth in vocations.”
The schools were asked to send their best girls’ and best boys’ entries. First-place boy and girl winners won $150 and a certificate; second-place boy and girl winners won $75 and a certificate.
The schools attended by the students received $100 for having first-place winners, and $50 for having second-place winners.
The girl division winners were Adelaide Sloey, from Good Shepherd School in Shawnee, first place; and Kathryn Wiedel, Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Shawnee, second place.
The boy division winners were Aidan Bowles, St. Paul School in Olathe, first place; and Jai Shum of Good Shepherd School in Shawnee, second place.
The four winners read their winning essays at the lunch meeting.
The essays were judged on material organization, vocabulary and style, grammar, punctuation and spelling, and neatness.
As always, the Serrans were impressed by the students and, by extension, their schools.
“I have learned to have greater and greater admiration for our Catholic school system that produces some fine students,” said Meara. “I have every respect for our archdiocesan schools.”