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Students from two schools stand out in pro-life essay contest

Students from two schools won 10 of 15 awards – including all five first-place spots – in the annual Pro-Life Essay Contest sponsored by the Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Omaha.

Top winners in the contest – which was for seventh-graders through juniors and drew 62 entries – were seventh-grader Aiden Morey and eighth-grader Sydney Schmidt, both of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish and School in Omaha; and three students from Mount Michael Benedictine High School near Elkhorn: freshman Kolton Koubsky of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish, sophomore Patrick Collins of St. Margaret Mary Parish and junior Ben Arkfeld of St. Wenceslaus Parish, all in Omaha.

Students from St. Robert Bellarmine also took second and third in the seventh-grade division, and Mount Michael students took second among sophomores and second and third among juniors, said Whitney Bradley, coordinator of the Respect Life Apostolate in the Center for Family Life Formation.

Winners at each grade level receive award certificates, while students in first place win $40 and have their essays published on the Catholic Voice website. Second place earns $30 and third receives $20.

First place entries also are submitted to the Knights of Columbus statewide contest, which will be judged separately, with awards announced in the fall.

The students were invited to reflect on ways scientific breakthroughs support the case for life, a topic chosen in part because some pro-abortion advocates suggest the pro-life movement is simply about people imposing their faith or values on someone else, Bradley said.

But by showing life in its earliest stages, ultrasounds and other advances can strengthen the argument that life begins at conception, she said.

ARCHDIOCESAN PRO-LIFE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS

Seventh-grade

First place: Aiden Morey, St. Robert Bellarmine School, St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Omaha.

Second place: Beau Leuck, St. Robert Bellarmine School, St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Omaha.

Third place: Anna Stefan, St. Robert Bellarmine School, St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Omaha.

 

Eighth grade

First place: Sydney Schmidt, St. Robert Bellarmine School, St. Robert Bellarmine Parish.

Second place: Molly Smith, Christ the King School, Christ the King Parish, Omaha.

Third place: Peyton Noél Brooking, schooled at home, St. Margaret Mary Parish, Omaha.

 

Ninth grade

First place: Kolton Koubsky, Mount Michael Benedictine High School near Elkhorn, St. Stephen the Martyr Parish, Omaha.

Second place: Maximilian Middendorf, Sotus Central Catholic High School, St. Isadore Parish, Columbus.

Third place: Kaylee Lahti, Marian High School, Omaha, St. Patrick Parish, Elkhorn.

 

Tenth grade

First place: Patrick Collins, Mount Michael Benedictine High School, St. Margaret Mary Parish, Omaha.

Second place: Jacob Benes, Mount Michael Benedictine High School, St. Wenceslaus Parish, Omaha.

Third place: Cassandra VanOeveren, Gretna High School, St. Patrick Parish, Gretna.

 

Eleventh grade

First place: Ben Arkfeld, Mount Michael Benedictine High School, St. Wenceslaus Parish, Omaha.

Second place: Sebastian Alegrett, Mount Michael Benedictine High School, St. Margaret Mary Parish, Omaha.

Third place: Jack Sun, Mount Michael Benedictine High School, a foreign exchange student from China.

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