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Read the winning essay from this year’s Celebrate Life student essay contest

Each year, in the time leading up to the annual Celebrate Life March (Jan. 15 this year), the Respect Life Office holds a contest in which they encourage middle school and high school students across the archdiocese’s Catholic schools to write and submit a pro-life essay based on a specific theme. The winner gets the honor of reading his or her essay at the rally and is recognized with an award.

This year’s winner was sixth grader Joshua Guerra from St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Longmont. This year’s theme was “Honoring Courageous Mothers,” and Joshua wrote his essay about Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. It was quite beautiful, if we do say so ourselves! He read his essay at the Celebrate Life March with his mom, Mariko, by his side.

“When I was giving my speech, I felt nervous until I realized it didn’t matter if I messed up or not because it wouldn’t show up on my permanent record (at least, I hope not),” Joshua said. “After thinking about that, I felt a sudden burst of confidence shoot up my spine and I got through the rest of the speech feeling pretty important. After my speech was over and I sat down. I thought, ‘That wasn’t so bad.'”

“I was happy and proud that Joshua was able to give his speech in front of a big crowd,” Mariko said. “I believe his speech was a good opportunity and experience for him that he will not forget.”

Below is Joshua’s winning essay.

What would you say if you were chosen to be Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist?

If you asked me that question, I would say, “No, too much work.” I would say that because she raised someone who went on to be a very holy man. She must have made a lot of sacrifices including giving him good food, teaching him about God, setting a good example for him and much, much more. Another reason I don’t want to be Elizabeth is because how would YOU react if your own son was beheaded and served on a plate? She was a very courageous mother who loved her son and did whatever she could for him.

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The school that I attend is called St. John the Baptist. Everybody always thinks of John as the kind, caring, and loving person. But who do you think he learned that from? Being kind was one of the things that John learned from his mother. John’s mother had to be on a lookout for him ALL the time when he was a baby. Climbing on the house, eating grass, standing on the monkey bars (Just kidding). Elizabeth also tried to teach John as much about God as she could. Sometimes John might have gotten a little bit bored and snuck off to do something else. Elizabeth probably had to hunt him down and make him come back. Lastly, another reason that I think John’s mother was a kind mother was that she had to feed John healthy food. (I know my mom does that a LOT. Thanks mom. Well… except for the occasional Milky Way. Just kidding.)

Another thing about being a mom is that you have to be caring, which has a LOT of sacrifices. One thing that Elizabeth had to do was protect John. There were probably bullies, people who wanted to really hurt John, and just people who were bad and mean. To be able to protect John must have been very scary and frightening. Elizabeth must have been very caring for her son and loved him a lot. Lastly, I believe that Elizabeth was a courageous and caring mother because she had to give John a good education and help him learn more about God. Elizabeth must have had to sacrifice a lot of her time to do that.

Elizabeth was also a loving mother who did all she could for John. One thing that Elizabeth probably did to John was not spoil him at ALL. If she did, he probably would not have grown up to be the loving man he was. Elizabeth also had to set a good example for John when he was a kid or he would not have had all the attributes that he had when he was a grown up. That is exactly what my mom does and I appreciate it. She has set good examples for me ever since I was born.

In conclusion, I think that Elizabeth was a great mother because she had all the traits of a courageous, loving, caring, and kind mother. She was the entire reason that John became the man he was. St. John the Baptist, a loving, caring, and kind man who was a faithful follower of Jesus. A sign of the holiness of Jesus and a teacher of Jesus. So, I ask all of you again, what would YOU say if you were chosen to be Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist?

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