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Christopher Columbus Essay Contest 2013

Earlier in the year, the Knights of Columbus Monsignor Flanagan Fourth Degree Assembly 0059 in Riverside conducted its annual Patriotic Essay Contest for 7th and 8th grade students in parochial schools within its jurisdiction of Riverside, Corona, Norco and Eastvale.

The topic this year was “I love my country and my church because …”

The three schools that participated selected four of their best essays to represent their school and then a three-member committee from the assembly judged the 12 essays submitted.

All the contest winners were selected from St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School — a first in the history of the contest.

They are: 1st place — Isabella Calamore ($100); 2nd place — Ashley Fernando ($75); 3rd place — Tiffany Nguyen ($50); and 4th place/Honorable mention — Amanda Trinh ($25).

All the other students who did not receive a cash award were given a Patriotic Service Award Certificate of Participation.

Faithful Navigator Stephen Demeo presented the awards to the students during the St. Thomas the Apostle School’s graduation ceremony June 6.

BC and Yukon State Knights of Columbus 2013-2014
Youth Culture of Life Essay, Poster and Picture Contest

We are interested and want to hear what you think about Culture of Life issues!

All Catholic students in public, private and parochial schools grades 1 through 12 in British Columbia and the Yukon are invited to participate in the Knights of Columbus 2013 – 2014 Culture of Life Essay, Poster and Picture contest.

High School students are encouraged to write an original positive themed essay (Minimum 1000 to 1500 Word Essay) on any facet of Culture of Life issues.

Junior High School Students are encouraged to write an original positive themed essay (Minimum 500 to 750 Word Essay) on any facet of Culture of Life issues.

Students in Grades 4-6 are encouraged to do an original positive themed Celebration of Life Poster with a slogan.

Students in Grades 1-3 are encouraged to do an original positive themed Celebration of Life picture.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three finalists in each category as follows:



SchoolGrade LevelPrize structure
High SchoolGrade 10-12First:$200Second:$100Third:$50
Junior High SchoolGrade 7-9First:$200Second:$100Third:$50
Intermediate SchoolGrade 4-6First:$100Second:$75Third:$50
Primary School GradeGrade 1-3First:$50Second:$25Third:$15

To be clear, the top essay winner in the Grade 10-12 category will receive a first prize of $200. The second top winner in that category will receive the second prize of $100. The top third prize winner will receive the third prize of $50. Students from Grade 10 to 12 will compete in the same category for the top three prizes for that category. The same applies to the top winners for the other categories.

Participants are required to furnish written parental consent. For an official entry form and additional guideline information, please refer to the following downloadable documents: (You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader or a similar program to open and print the forms):

High School and Junior High School Application form (PDF) for the Essay Contest(opens in new window or tab)

Intermediate and Primary School Application form (PDF) for the Poster/Picture Contest(opens in new window or tab)

Contest Guidelines (PDF format)(opens in new window or tab)

Contest Poster (PDF format)(opens in new window or tab)

Closing Date: January 15, 2014

Student Entry forms and Essays or Posters or Pictures must be received by or post-marked by midnight of the closing date.

The application form must be complete, legible and stapled to the essay, poster or picture submission. Incomplete entries (application forms or handwritten essays or essays that are too short or too long or plagiarized essays or posters/pictures) will not receive further consideration.

All marks by the State and local participating Council judges are final. They are not required to explain or justify their marking to the participants. Entries will not be returned to participants nor will any explanation on the participant’s performance.

Entries must be mailed to the State Culture of Life Directors via ground mail before or postmarked on the closing date at the following address:

Mr. and Mrs. D. McGregor
Culture of Life Directors
Knights of Columbus
BC-Yukon State Jurisdiction
PO Box 1058, RPO Vedder Crossing,
Chilliwack, BC

For questions on the Contest, please contact Dale and Debbie McGregor at the following e-mail address:


January – Feb 28: Judges review essays at the State level and at the local Council level for participating Councils.

March 1, 2014 – March 15, 2014 – Local Council Winners announced by local participating Councils in their local Parish areas. Local winners’ entries are forwarded to the State Culture of Life Program Directors for consideration in the main State Contest.

March 15, 2014 – State Judging of the Direct Submissions and the participating Council first, second and third place winning entries completed.

March 30, 2014 – State Level Contest winners announced. Notification to the winners will be by phone or by e-mail.

May/June, 2014 – Essay, Poster and Picture Contest winners submitted to Supreme Council Office and to other publications (BC Catholic and the BC and Yukon State Knights Newsletter) for consideration for inclusion in their publications.

Only results for the winning entries in each Student Category will be posted on the Knights of Columbus State Web site.


What are “Culture of Life” issues?

There are so many great thinkers and champions of life issues. They have all had something to say or taken action on any or all of the Culture of Life issues. Here are some examples of culture of life issues (and students are not limited to just these issues);

Legal status of a fetus;
Abortion issues;
Bioethical issues to do with reproductive technologies and issues such as reproductive technologies, invitro-fertilization, cloning and stem cell research;
Adoption and caring for unwanted children;
Experimentation on human subjects be they embryonic or for scientific advancement on children or adults to battle diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s;
Euthanasia, assisted suicide and care of the dying;
Issues related to defining the moment of death;
The impact of organ transplantation.

What is meant by the term “positive themed”?

There are a lot of views on culture of life issues and many ways on how to present these life issues to others. This contest would like to focus on the positive ways of expressing this idea without getting into sensational or graphic depiction or details of certain life issues. Yes, those aspects exist and it is fine to acknowledge them in your work but as mentioned previously, it should not be the focus of the submission.

What is meant by the term “Celebration of Life”?

It is anything related to any of the Culture of Life issues mentioned above but in a simpler sense. For example, the joy of bringing baby brother or sister home from the hospital or walking with a grandparent or visiting a sick or aging relative in a nursing home or hospital. It could be a portrayal of someone like Mother Teresa giving aid to the sick in the streets in India. If explanation is needed as to what the submission is meant to express, this can be noted in a short handwritten note on the back of the poster or picture.

What is meant by the term “original”?

We know there are a lot of family members willing to help you and they may be really good at writing or drawing. But we want to hear what you think which means you researching and thinking about a particular issue or concept and then shaping that thought till it expresses what you think or how you feel about it on paper. We also know there is a lot of good resource material on the internet and all that is good information, as long as you restate it in your own words. To take someone else’s work or words or pictures (without formal academic acknowledgement) is called plagiarism. One of the Ten Commandments actually covers this when it states, “Thou shalt not steal.” Work that is submitted which is plagiarized will receive no further consideration in the contest.

Can I use pictures, drawings or illustrations in my essay? After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

No. The purpose of the essay is to present your thoughts in writing on the topic chosen by you. We are interested in what you think of the topic you chose and how you feel about it. And there may be copyright issues associated with using pictures, drawings or illustrations.

What is an acceptable length for the essay for the High School Category?

On 8.5”X11” paper, double spaced with a 1” margin around the page border, four (4) complete pages to five complete (5) pages is the acceptable length for the essay. Essays that are too short or too long will receive fewer marks for excessive brevity or length.

What is an acceptable length for the essay for the Junior High School Category?

On 8.5”X11” paper, double spaced with a 1” margin around the page border, two (2) complete pages to three (3) complete pages is the acceptable length for the essay. Essays that are too short or too long will receive fewer marks for excessive brevity or length.

What is the acceptable poster or picture size?

Any type of paper is acceptable up to the dimension of 11” X 17” (inches). The paper should be durable enough to be handled by the numbers of judges who may be reviewing the submission.

What is acceptable medium (ink, pencil, crayons, pencil crayons, oil paints etc.) for the posters or pictures?

All of the above are fine, as long as they are safe for the students to handle and for the judges to handle in reviewing the submissions.

Can I do more then one submission (i.e. more than one essay or more then one poster/picture)?

No. One entry per student for your particular category is the limit.

Can I make a submission for other student categories?

No, you can only enter in your category. If you are a Grade 11 student, you can only enter the category for Grade 10-12 students. If you make a submission for another category, your entry will be deemed ineligible.

Are home schooled Catholic students allowed to complete?

Definitely! They are students with a Grade level in the province or territory where they study.

Can students who have graduated but are waiting to start their post-secondary education eligible to apply?

No, once you have graduated, you are no longer considered a student for this contest’s purpose. You need to be a full time student actively attending a high school and carrying a full usual course load in the particular grade in which you are studying.

Why is there such a delay between the contest closing date and the announcement of the winners? The contest closes January 15, 2014 but results are not announced until March 30, 2014.

It is anticipated there will be a substantial volume of applicants because the contest is open to Catholic students in British Columbia and the Yukon. There is considerable work associated with reviewing the applications and assessing them. Also, some local Knights Councils may be doing the preliminary assessments of the student submissions for the entries from their parish areas so the entry and submissions need to be packaged up and mailed to them for their review. A lot of work needs to be done after the closing date.