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Catholic New World Essay Contests

2018 Essay Contest: Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment

In response to the 2018 Synod of Bishops and the 20th anniversary of the Catholic Studies program in the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall University, the program is sponsoring its second annual essay contest, which is open to all Catholic high school students in the state of New Jersey.

The author of the winning essay will receive a $400 gift card and certificate, and the two runners-up will each receive a $150 gift card and certificate. The winners will be honored at the annual Catholic Studies Honor Society induction and reception at Seton Hall University on April 26, 2018 (date to be confirmed). Students will be permitted to bring two guests to the reception, and the winning essay will be read aloud at the reception by its author. The three winning essays will also appear in Arcadia Scholarly Student magazine, which is published by Catholic Studies.

Topic

The title of the 2018 Synod of Bishops is Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

The Preparatory Document to the Synod of Bishops’ states: “the Church has decided to examine herself on how she can lead young people to recognize and accept the call to the fullness of life and love, and to ask young people to help Her in identifying the most effective ways to announce the Good News today. By listening to young people, the Church will once again hear the Lord speaking in today’s world. As in the days of Samuel (1 Sam 3:1-21) and Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-10), young people know how to discern the signs of our times, indicated by the Spirit. Listening to their aspirations, the Church can glimpse the world which lies ahead and the paths the Church is called to follow.”

Catholic high school students of New Jersey are invited to write an essay sharing a real-life story answering the following questions: How does or how should the Catholic Church listen to young people? What do young people really ask of the Catholic Church?

Students' responses should show how their story highlights their vocational discernment.

Online and Hard Copy Submission Requirements

Each high school must submit no more than five essays.
Each essay will be evaluated for originality, execution, and adherence to the topic and format requirements:
·  Essays must be between 500 and 750 words
·  Entries must be written in English
·  Only one entry per student
·  All information requested below under “Submit your Essay” must be submitted

Deadline

All essays must be submitted by February 15, 2018. The authors of winning entries will be notified by March 29, 2018.

Contact

Dr. Ines Angeli Murzaku
Professor and Director of Catholic Studies Program
Walsh Library 427
Seton Hall University
400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079
ines.murzaku@shu.edu

Or

Gloria Aroneo, M.B.A.
gloria.aroneo@shu.edu
(973) 275-2808

WIN CASH PRIZES … AND TEACH HISTORY TOO — Catholic school students in grades 5 – 12 are invited to enter our annual essay contest.  The contest is open to all students in Catholic schools – parochial, private and homeschool…. Here are the rules and details… We hope teachers and parents will incorporate this essay contest into their lesson plans and encourage We hope teachers and parents will incorporate this essay contest into their lesson plans and encourage their students to participate.  

There are eight divisions:

  • For Catholic schools:
    • 5th grade Catholic school students
    • 6th grade Catholic school students
    • 7th/8th grade Catholic school students
    • High school Catholic school students
  • For Catholic homeschools:
    • 5th grade Catholic homeschoolers
    • 6th grade Catholic homeschoolers
    • 7th/8th grade Catholic homeschoolers
    • High school Catholic homeschoolers

ESSAY TOPICS

5th Grade Students:

Choose a Catholic historical character (born before 1950) from North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico). Write about his or her life and work and why he or she was important to the Church and country. Students may choose a person who was born outside of North America, but who did their important work in North America.

6th Grade Students:

Choose a country other than your home country, that you would like to visit. Research that country’s history and write about two places of historical interest that you would like to visit if you traveled there and why.

7th and 8th Grade Students: (Choose one of these topics)

1. Choose a non-North American historical character (from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia or South America) who lived between 300 A. D. and 1600 A.D. and relate how that person influenced the time and place in which they lived.

2. Choose an historical event that occurred between 300 A.D. and 1600 A.D. (This could be a war, a single battle in a war, a plague, the coronation of a king, the passage of a law or decree, an ecumenical council, a revolution, an invention, a birth or death, a marriage, etc. – but the event must be an historically important event). Describe the event, the key players, its outcome and how it changed history.

High School Students: (choose one of these topics)

1. The year 1618 was the beginning of the 30 Years War in Europe. Research this conflict, identify its causes, why it lasted so long and what were its results. Explain why it was such an important war in the history of Europe.

2. The year 1918 was the end of the World War I. Discuss how this war changed Europe. You may concentrate on one aspect of change – such as economics, politics, religion or culture.

3. Show how World War I lead to changes in the culture of the United States in the 1920s.

4. C. S. Lewis wrote: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” Explain this quotation, using examples from history.

5. C. S. Lewis wrote: “History isn’t just the story of bad people doing bad things. It’s quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.” Explain this quotation, using examples from history.

NEW GUIDELINE: Teachers may only submit 5 essays, per division, per school. While we want to have every student continue to participate and enjoy the opportunity to write and learn more about history, we are asking the teachers to select the best 5 essays for submission. We will continue to send a letter thanking every member of the class for participating. For further questions please email: contest@catholictextbookproject.com.

AWARDS

  • For Catholic schools and students:
    • 5th grade Catholic school – $100 to student and $400 gift certificate for the school student attends
    • 6th grade Catholic school – $100 to student and $400 gift certificate for the school student attends
    • 7th/8th grade Catholic school – $150 to student and $400 gift certificate for the school student attends
    • High school, Catholic school – $200 to student and $400 gift certificate for the school student attends
  • For Catholic homeschools and students:
    • 5th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $100 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
    • 6th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $100 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
    • 7th/8th grade Catholic homeschoolers – $150 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
    • High school, Catholic homeschoolers – $200 to student and choice of CTP book for student’s family
  • For all winners:Winning essays will be published on the CTP website and social media.

WRITING GUIDELINES

  • For the 5/6 divisions, essays should be at least 450 words, but no more than 1,000 words.
  • For the 7/8 divisions, essays should be at least 600 words, but no more than 1,500 words.
  • For the high school divisions, essays should be at least 800 words, but no more than 2,000 words.
  • Essays should be typed, double spaced, 11 pt in Times New Roman font.
  • If essays are e-mailed, they must be in PDF format.

FURTHER…

  • Your writing should be in your own words. If you quote another author (either from a book or the internet), you must cite that author in a footnote or an endnote. Essays that are suspected of plagiarism will be disqualified.
  • Essays must include a bibliography or simple list of sources used.
  • Wikipediamay not be used as the primary reference material. Wikipedia is useful for an initial familiarization with a topic, but it is not considered a reliable source in academic circles. A Wikipedia article can be useful in providing reference to books and articles which can be used for further research.

An Entry Form must be filled out and attached to each essay.

Catholic School Entry Form (right-click and Save As to download)

Homeschool Entry Form (right-click and Save As to download)

Please choose from the links above to download your entry form. Download the form to your computer and then fill it out. Save the completed form and then send it by email to contest@catholictextbookproject.com.

DEADLINE

All mailed essays must be postmarked by midnight, November 17, 2017.

All e-mailed essays must be received by midnight, November 17, 2017, EST.

SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

Essays can be mailed via USPO to:

Catholic Textbook Project
Essay Contest
P.O. Box 266
Galena, OH 43021 

Or they may be sent via email, attached in PDF format to: contest@catholictextbookproject.com.

Each student’s essay must be e-mailed individually and not gathered into one file.

Please contact Katherine at contest@catholictextbookproject.com with any of your questions.

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