Pope John Paul II has been called the most influential voice for peace in the world in the last 100 years.
To commemorate his imminent canonization as a Saint of The Catholic Church, participating Catholic High Schools in the U.S. will conduct an essay contest for all their students. In 250 words or less, students will provide an answer to the following question – "If Pope John Paul II were alive today, what would he do to bring peace to the world."
Each participating student will be provided with a fact sheet about Pope John Paul II's peacemaking accomplishments, as well as a summary of present - day conflicts in the world. It is suggested that each participating school introduce the contest to its students in English, History or Religion Class, via email and with posters on bulletin boards.
Suggestions for announcing the contest, prizes and judging
It is suggested that each high school appoint a 3 person judging committee that includes a representative from its English, History and Religion Departments. It is also suggested that each participating school award a first, second and third prize. (Suggested prizes can range from iPods, iPads and MacBooks to lunch vouchers of different values.)
Depending on the number of participating schools, each school’s first prizewinning essay will either be entered in one national competition or four regional competitions. Judging on the national and regional levels will be done online on the "What would Pope John Paul II do?" website by the members of the judging committees of all participating schools.
This is an excellent research and writing project enhancing Catholic education. If we can get about 200 Catholic high schools to participate, one of our alumni supporters has assured me that he can arrange for the first prize in the national contest to be a trip to the Vatican for the winner (and parents or guardians), as well as the opportunity to read the winning essay at both St. Peter’s in Rome and the United Nations in New York.
Suggested Essay Contest Schedule for Schools
- Week of 12/16/2013- Notification deadline for schools wanting to participate.
- Week of 12/16/2013- Schools create plan for announcement to students.
- Week of 1/13/2014- Deadline for students to submit essay.
- Week of 2/17/2014- Judges at participating schools select 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winners and award prizes.
- Week of 2/24/2014- 1st prize winning essays sent to www.whatwouldpopejohnpaulIIdo.com for regional and national judging.
- Week of 3/17/2014- National prize winner announced.
- Prize winner addresses the United nations in NY- TBD after canonization
- Prize winner visits the Vatican- TBD after the canonization.
Contest Benefits For Participating Schools
1. Positions the school and its students at the center of the conversation about world peace – the single most important issue of the day.
2. Connects the school and its students with Pope John Paul II’s legendary peacemaking accomplishments with his imminent canonization – underscoring his continuing relevance in today’s world.
3. Provides a valuable learning experience for students who participate.
4. Would generate significant levels of positive exposure and publicity for participating schools in their communities – demonstrating leadership and relevance for Catholic Education.