Tolton Ambassadors-Louisiana and Associates held the Inaugural Venerable Father Augustus Tolton Essay Contest during the month of February. An awards ceremony was Sunday, March 12, to honor students participating from throughout the Diocese of Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish schools for their extraordinary and outstanding essays.
Each division — Elementary, Middle and High School — wrote an essay on different topics of why Venerable Father Augustus Tolton (1854-1897) should be a Saint.
The Elementary Division: Grades 4-5 reflected on Venerable Father Augustus Tolton’s life journey and how he inspired all Catholics to live a Christian life. The first-place winner in Elementary was Sage Thayer, a fifth-grade student at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School. She was awarded an iPad, a $50.00 gift card and a certificate of participation.
The Middle School Division: Grades 6-8 reflected on Venerable Father Augustus Tolton’s perseverance against all odds to become a priest, and his life of devotion and service to Catholics of all races during challenging times in America. The first-place winner in Middle School was Lauren Lance, a seventh grade student at Moss Bluff Middle School. She was awarded an iPad, a $100.00 gift card and a certificate of participation.
The High School Division: Grades 9-12 reflected on how Venerable Father Augustus Tolton’s ministry helped to lay the Foundation for a true Catholic gathering in our time. The first-place winner in High School was MacKenzie Harvey, a senior at Washington Marion High School. She was awarded a laptop, $200.00 gift card and a certificate of participation.
Other participants are listed by their division level:
• Elementary — Anna Hodges, Grady Byrd, Isla Durousseau, Judith Melton, Knox Guidry, Ramsey Vincent, Scarlett Carmen, Sophia McCain, and Thompson Abendroth, all fifth-grade students at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School; and Aubrie Stevens, grade 5, Hamilton Christian Academy
• Middle School — Damond Bellard, grade 8, Hamilton Christian Academy
• High School — Breylon Stevens, grade 8, Lake Charles College Prep; and Sidney Woods, a senior at Barbe High School
All students participating were recognized and awarded a gift card and a certificate of participation.