Essay Contest

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

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.