Archdiocese Local Religious life Schools Youth & young adult

Serra contest winners pen vocations inspiration

Sixth-grade Catholic school Serra vocations essay contest winners were: (left) first-place Joseph Staker, runner-up Will Caesar, (foreground) runner-up Rylee Hadel and first-place Betsy Goodenow. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JOE BOLLIG

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — If you wanted inspiration and hope about vocations, then a good place to start was at a recent meeting of the Kansas City Kansas Serra Club.

At that March 22 meeting held at the clubhouse of Painted Hills Golf Course, the Serrans honored winners of their annual 6th-grade vocation essay contest, school representatives and their parents.

Last September, 6th-grade students at Catholic schools in Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties were invited to submit essays, between 300 and 400 words, on the perennial topic: “Why are priests, Sisters, deacons and Brothers necessary for the mission of the Catholic Church?”

Preliminary judging was done at the schools, followed by a final judging of the top essays by a panel of Serrans. The first-place boy and girl winners each received $100 for both themselves and their schools. The runner-up boy and girl winners received $50 for both themselves and their schools.

Each student read his or her essay at the event and received a plaque and check from Msgr. Michael Mullen, Serran chaplain, archdiocesan co-director of seminarians and pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kansas.

The first-place girl was Betsy Goodenow, from Holy Trinity School in Lenexa. With her were parents Stephanie and Andy Goodenow, teacher Cayleigh Shaw and principal Scott Merfen.

The first-place boy was Joseph Staker from St. Ann School in Prairie Village. With him were parents Christy and David Staker, teacher Allie Foster and principal Mike Riley.

The runner-up girl was Rylee Hadel from Queen of the Holy Rosary School in Wea. With her were her parents, Linda and Greg Hadel.

The runner-up boy was Will Caesar from Queen of the Holy Rosary School in Wea. With him were his parents Teresa and Greg Caesar.

The two runners-up were also accompanied by teacher Ann Pivarnik, principal Nick Antista and pastor Father Gary Pennings.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

Leave a Comment