Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

1/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Catholic Students Write on John Paul II in Essay Contest

With the most number of essays to date, Catholic school students, parents and teachers from around the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston gathered to celebrate the winners of the 10th annual University of St. Thomas/Archdiocesan Essay Contest with a Mass and Awards Ceremony on Jan. 22 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

High school essay winners with the Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, archbishop emeritus of Galveston-Houston.

High school essay winners with the Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, archbishop emeritus of Galveston-Houston.


By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

Catholic Online (

1/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: University of St. Thomas Houston, University of St. Thomas, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Essay Contest, Blessed John Paul II, JPII, Houston, Catholic Education

HOUSTON, TX (Catholic Online) - With the most number of essays to date, Catholic school students, parents and teachers from around the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston gathered to celebrate the winners of the 10th annual University of St. Thomas/Archdiocesan Essay Contest with a Mass and Awards Ceremony on Jan. 22 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

The Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, archbishop emeritus of Galveston-Houston, celebrated Mass. Dr. George Laird, interim superintendent of Catholic schools also attended.

A record number of 6,388 Catholic school students from third through 12th grades in 50 schools wrote essays on topics related to Pope John Paul II and how his works and words are relevant to the students' lives. The winners were selected from 664 finalists.

Senior First Place Winner Placed 4 Years in a Row

The first place winners in ninth through 12th grades received a $2,500 scholarship to UST, if they enroll.

The scholarship winners are:

  •  9th grade: Kathleen Blute of St. Pius X High School
  •  10th grade: Sarah Trumble of Incarnate Word Academy
  •  11th grade: Cameron Kic of St. Thomas High School
  •  12th grade: Isabel Sutter of St. Agnes Academy

The senior first place winner, Isabel Sutter, has placed all four years she entered in high school, including two first place wins as a freshman and sophomore, and third place last year. She said she's had lots of practice writing essays.

"I like to write; I do it for fun," she said. "I also like to win, so I work hard."

Sutter's parents, Herman '86 and Lynne '85, met at the University of St. Thomas and were married here. Her sister Lucia is a sophomore at the University, and Isabel hopes to continue the family legacy, interested in studying in the five-year education program and the creative writing minor at St. Thomas. Through the Essay Contest, she has earned $3,500 in scholarships.

All Winners from Third-Eighth grades

Other first place winners included:

  • 3rd grade: Mia Zatarain of St. Anne Catholic School, Houston
    Brianna Ramirez of Sacred Heart Catholic School, Crosby

  • 4th grade: Kristen Mohan of John Paul II Catholic School
    Brooke Box of Northwoods Catholic School
  • 5th grade: Pearson Kurka of St. Anne Catholic School, Houston
    Caitlin Alderete of St. Laurence Catholic School
  •  6th grade: John Paul Hitchon of The Regis School of the Sacred Heart
     Cecilia Joseph of St. Francis de Sales Catholic School
     Fatima Nguyen of St. Ambrose Catholic School
  •  7th grade: Lauren Ponce de Leon of St. Laurence Catholic School

  •  8th grade: Jaycelyn Andrews of St. Rose of Lima Catholic School
     David Bat of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School

Wanting to personally congratulate each student for being able to write effectively about these topics, the archbishop gave each winner a wall crucifix blessed by Pope Francis, made in the style of the one on the staff that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis carried from the Vatican. Students earning honorable mention received a small crucifix in the same style. Both were given to remind the students of Christ, the best of all mentors.

Out of all the essays submitted, schools selected finalists for each grade level, and the essays were read and ranked by 36 UST faculty and staff members and alumni, who chose the winners. The essays of all first place winners were enlarged as posters and put on display at the reception that followed the awards ceremony.

The contest was held just prior to National Catholic Schools Week, a time to focus on the benefits of Catholic education.

See all the pictures from the Essay Contest at


The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston's only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers. 


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis Watch

Image of Despite a shooting at a Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest, the group plans to return to the precinct to continue their protests.


Protesters were standing outside the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis for Black Lives Matter in the case of 24-year-old Jamar Clark when gunshots rang out. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -Five protesters were shot outside the police station Tuesday afternoon as one ... continue reading

Planned Parenthood sues the State of Texas: Find out why NOW Watch

Image of The complainants maintain that planned intervention of the government is a violation of the federal statute and the 14th Amendment, which ensures equal protection.


Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit this week against the State of Texas for blocking its Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood says that the decision was motivated by politics - and not because of health care concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading

Terror threats spark shocking WORLD WIDE TRAVEL ALERTS Watch

Image of In either case, travelers can expect beefed-up security at airports in the coming weeks - and longer lines.


It is the start of the holiday season in the United States - and with the world still thoroughly rattled after the attacks in Paris this past November 13, travel alerts are in high effect. Even worse, those who decide to stay home through Thanksgiving and ... continue reading

Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, Catholics nurtured in the Anglican tradition, receives its First Bishop Watch

Image of Fr Randy Sly, a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition. The Ordinariate was created by the Vatican on Jan. 1, 2012.On November 24, 2015. Pope Francis announced the appointment of ... continue reading

EVIL AGAINST EVIL: Mafia boss says his group will protect New York City against Islamist State Watch

Image of Now pursuing a screenwriting career, Giovanni Gambino says that following the terror attacks in Paris on November 13, protection is more important than ever.


It is highly ironic, an example of the kettle calling the pot black as it were . Son of New York mob boss Giovanni Gambino is warning the Islamic State that if they decide to take New York City on, they will have the mafia to contend with.  LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Suicide bomber and K-9 units in New York subway station - but it's not what you think (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES) Watch

Image of NYC emergency responders held a 3-hour drill at the Bowery subway station in Manhattan days before the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.


Following the Paris terror attacks, New York City teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security on Sunday to stage a three-hour active-shooter and suicide bomber drill. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Only days before the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, emergency ... continue reading

Will national World War II shame over Japanese internment camps return with Muslim refugees? PHOTOS... Watch

Image of The internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent following the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II remains a very dark page in our national history.


Longtime mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, Mayor David Bowers has since apologized for his comments that compared Syrian refugee assistance and Japanese internment camps. While controversial, his comments have hit a raw, national nerve . and many people are wondering ... continue reading

What Time is it? The Feast of Christ the King and our Approach to Marking Time Watch

Image of Christ the King: This final Sunday of the church Year, the Feast of Christ the King, is the day when we are invited to commemorate His sovereignty over all men, women and children. Jesus Christ has come. Jesus Christ is coming. Jesus Christ will come again. Jesus Christ is Lord of All.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Our choice to actually live the Christian liturgical year, in a compelling, evangelistic and inviting way, can become a profoundly important form of missionary activity in an age deluded by the barrenness of secularism. A robust, evangelically alive and ... continue reading

Remembering Gettysburg: America Needs to be Moral to be Free Watch

Image of The Lincoln memorial in Washington, DC

By Mat Staver & Keith Fournier

Our age has been seduced by a counterfeit notion of liberty as the right to do whatever we want, rather than the right to choose to do what is right. This is not what the founding fathers thought. The birth certificate of this nation was called a Declaration of ... continue reading

NEW TERROR THREAT: ISIS releases video saying they will destroy the White House - next Watch

Image of Using his index finger to point to the sky, referring to Allah, the man says,


With the attacks on Paris still foremost in international consciousness, the Islamic State has released a new, threatening video - saying that the United States is next. "We started with [Paris] and we shall finish with the false White House... We shall render ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Couple heartbroken after doctor performs abortion without mother's ...
  • 5 unbelievable times children taught us to be better human beings
  • 'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest ...
  • St. Catherine of Alexandria: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, November ...
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, November 25, 2015
  • Advent Wreath Prayer HD
  • Prayer For Courage HD

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his noblemen, a thousand of ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67
62 Bless the Lord, sun and moon, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized and persecuted; you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 25th, 2015 Image

St. Catherine of Alexandria
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr ... Read More