Using “mercy” as the driving inspiration, students of Catholic schools, parish religious education programs and youth groups sought to express their visions of life’s intrinsic value, entering the annual Diocese of Trenton Respect Life Poster, Essay and Video Contest.

“Moved by Mercy” was this year’s theme, reflected in the students’ creative efforts throughout the Diocese’s four counties. The theme was based on that of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ respect life packet for 2017.

Entries were grouped by the following grade levels: kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, and sixth through eighth grade. After judging at the parish or school level, top entries were posted online for judging by the diocesan Department of Pastoral Care’s Respect Life Ministry.

This year, six diocesan winners were chosen overall, with first and second place runners-up in each grade group by county. The winners were:

Diocesan Winners:

Grades K-2 Poster Ella Rani Paoni, St. Veronica School, Howell, first grade

Grades 3-5 Poster Jessica Wojnar, St. Charles Borromeo School, Cinnaminson, fifth grade

Grades 6-8 Poster Joshua Arriola, Trenton Catholic Academy, seventh grade

Grades 6-8 Videos Group entry, Trenton Catholic Academy, sixth grade

Grades 3-5 Essays Kaitlyn Hanlon, St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft, fifth grade

Grades 6-8 Essays Faith Wittstruck, St. Veronica School, Howell, seventh grade

Runners-up:

Burlington County

Category 1: Grades K-2 Poster
There were no entries from Burlington County

Category 2: Grades 3-5 Poster
First runner-up: Group Entry, St. Charles Borromeo Religious Education, Cinnaminson, fifth grade

Second runner-up: Layla Joseph, St. Charles Borromeo School, Cinnaminson, fourth grade

Category 3: Grades 6-8 Poster
First Runner-up: Leah Rottler-Gurley, St. Joan of Arc School, Marlton, seventh grade

Second runner-up: Catherine Garvey, St. Joan of Arc School, Marlton, eighth grade

Category 4: Grades 3-5 Essays
There were no entries from Burlington County

Category 5: Grades 6 -8 essays

First Runner-up:  Justin Seo, St. Joan of Arc School, Marlton, eighth grade

Second runner-up: Brianna Wojnar, St. Charles Borromeo School, Cinnaminson, eighth grade

Category 6: Grades 6 -8 Videos

First runner-up: Group Entry, St. Charles Borromeo Religious Education, Cinnaminson, seventh grade

There were no other Burlington entries.

Mercer County

Category 1: Grades K-2 Poster

First runner-up: Jailyn Kruk, Trenton Catholic Academy, first Grade

Second runner-up: Danielle Self, Trenton Catholic Academy, kindergarten

Category 2: Grades 3-5 Poster

First runner-up:  Fernando A Luna-Torres, Trenton Catholic Academy, fourth grade

Second runner-up: Jeffrey Merendino, St. Paul School, Princeton, fourth grade

Category 3: Grades 6-8 Poster

First runner-up:  Isabella Sagarese, St. Paul School, Princeton, sixth grade

Second runner-up: Nicole Morilla, St. Ann School, Lawrenceville, sixth grade

Category 4: Grades 3-5 essays

First runner-up:  Alijah Christian Rivera, Trenton Catholic Academy, fourth grade

Second runner-up: Anthony Arriola, Trenton Catholic Academy, fourth grade

Category 5: Grades 6-8 Essays

First runner-up: Anthony Arrirguzoh, Trenton Catholic Academy, seventh grade

Second runner-up: Erin Stout, Trenton Catholic Academy, eighth grade

Category 6: Grades 6-8 Videos
There were no other Mercer entries.

Monmouth County

Category 1: Grades K-2 Poster
There were no other Monmouth entries.

Category 2: Grades 3-5 Poster
First runner-up:  Karina Minall, St. Rose Religious Education, Belmar, third grade

Second runner-up: Alexa Koopman, St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft, fifth grade

Category 3: Grades 6-8 Poster

First runner-up: Diego Palayo, St. Veronica School, Howell, sixth grade

Second runner-up: Maura Lennon, St Mary, Middletown, seventh grade

Category 4: Grades 3-5 Essays

First runner-up: Lily Loftus, St. Veronica School, Howell, fourth grade
There were no other Monmouth entries.

Category 5: Grades 6-8 Essays
There were no other Monmouth entries.

Category 6: Grades 6-8 Videos
First runner-up: Christopher Medeira, St. Veronica School, Howell, seventh grade
There were no other Monmouth entries.

Ocean County

Category 1: Grades K-2 Poster

First runner-up: Mary Clare Kennedy, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, first grade

Second runner-up: Raeli Kolber, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, first grade

Category 2: Grades 3-5 Poster

First runner-up: Brady Ballou, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, fourth grade

Second runner-up: Elysee (Ella) Jacinto, St. Luke Religious Education, Toms River, third grade

Category 3: Grades 6-8 Poster

First runner-up: Ava Carabetta, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, eighth grade

Second runner-up: Jeffrey Frankenburg, St. Dominic School, Brick, seventh grade

Category 4: Grades 3-5 Essays

First runner-up: Zoe Petrella, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, fifth grade

Second runner-up: Summer Bruce, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, fourth grade

Category 5: Grades 6-8 Essays

First runner-up: Nicole Jimenez, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, eighth grade

Second Runner-up: Claudia Magahis, St. Dominic School, Brick, eighth grade

Category 6: Grades 6-8 Videos

First runner-up: Kenny Malloy & Jake Mullins, St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach, sixth grade

There were no other Ocean County entries.