Five students from inside the walls of St. Pius X on West Donovan are on cloud nine after taking home honors at the 14th Annual University of St. Thomas/Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston Essay Contest last week.
Junior Emma Bradley and freshman Sasha Durocher both took top honors, senior Audrey Murdock and junior Nina Martinez took third place, and senior Lexi Platsas was awarded honorable mention in their respective divisions in a contest that featured more than 8,000 essays submitted from students aged 3rd grade through high school seniors.
Bradley focused on her experience in Catholic school vs. public school in her award-winning essay.
“I never would have been fully aware of the world around me, much less brought to the faith had it not been for my Catholic schooling,” she wrote.
“I can truly say that my Catholic education is a full education and one that will not desert me once I enter the world as an independent adult.”
Duroche, on the other hand, took an in-depth look at the decision process in her essay.
“I can think that if I was a parent I would want my child to grow up to embody great virtues like love, charity, and respect which can be found to be built in a Catholic education,” she wrote.
“To know that my essay was recognized out of the 8,000 submissions makes me feel extremely honored and thankful for the education I’ve received,” she added.
Murdock, meanwhile focused on the mission of the Catholic school and the truthfulness she has experienced at St. Pius, as considers the most important aspect of Catholic education to be the sense of shared values instilled.
“I believe that having a sense of truthfulness, veritas, is essential for a student’s success, both academically and socially,” she said. “Writing this essay allowed me to process and reflect on my Catholic education. As a senior, being able to look back on the past four years and how they’ve shaped me has allowed me to realize the impact that St. Pius will continue to have on me as I move forward.”
Martinez’s essay focused on Mother Mary’s Fifteen Promises.
“Every simple phrase uttered to our Mother is one of her fifteen promises granted. Mary’s first promise grants the receival of signal graces.
Teenagers believe best by seeing, so being able to receive a sign of God’s grace is comforting to our kind,” she wrote. “…We fear many things in this world and are tempted in all sorts of way to turn from God; by receiving this blessing we can be certain of guidance and guardian angels.”
In addition to being recognized as a first-place recipient, Bradley was also awarded a $2,000 scholarship to UST.
“At St. Pius X High School, we are very fortunate to have truly stellar students,” Principal Diane Larsen said. “The fact that our students took top honors in half of the high school categories and placed three other times, speaks great volumes to our student body’s abilities and commitment to Catholic education.”