The joy of loving life reflected in teen's winning logo
By Rachel Hipschman | Youth Correspondent
The Diocese of Trenton’s Respect Life Ministry recently announced the winner of its ‘Loving Life Logo Contest.’
Erica Graff, 18, of St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, submitted the winning entry in the contest, which was open to all teens in the dioceses. Out of 81 entries from 10 different high schools, members of the diocesan Respect Life Steering Committee chose Erica’s simple yet powerful design, along with four others, as finalists.
The top five logos were displayed on the diocesan Respect Life Ministry’s website and the winner was decided by the public through a voting process. Erica’s winning design will be used as the brand for the Respect Life Ministry; appearing on the ministry’s Facebook page, as well as on apparel and ministry newsletters.
In addition, Erica will be presented with an Apple MacBook at a date yet to be determined.
Erica, a senior at St. John Vianney High School and a member of Jesus the Lord Parish, Keyport, created the logo while in art class and entered it in the contest on a whim. “I thought it was worth a shot,” she stated.
Although surprised, Erica was honored that her logo was chosen. Even though she doesn’t consider herself artistic, her simple yet creative design that she felt “best expressed the emotion of loving life” was the favorite among voters. Erica reflected these feelings in her design of a figure raising its arms in jubilation that emulated what she describes as “trying to express the complete joy of loving life.”
The contest, developed to “raise pro-life awareness in high school students and allow them to become involved and feel some ownership for our respect life program” has done just that, said Donna Goodwin, diocesan coordinator for Respect Life Ministry. Goodwin explained, “As students use their creative skills to develop a logo, they focus on our Catholic teaching that God created us in his image and that human life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death.”
The term ‘pro-life’ can be heard in many different places including in Church, news reports and conversation. Although some teens might overlook the term and categorize it as an issue only adults need to be concerned with, it is very much an issue that teens can not only educate themselves on, but become involved with.
For Erica, being pro-life means “that all human life, regardless of age, mental health, or disability should be valued and preserved.” This is a belief that is echoed by many Catholics around the world. There is an opportunity for everyone, young and old, to stand up for and defend the most beautiful gift of God: life.
This contest is only one of the many ways that teens and young people can become involved in Respect Life ministry. Looking for a way to get involved? Goodwin suggests joining, or creating, a pro-life club at school and becoming educated on the issues and legislation that pose a major threat to life. Teens can also fundraise for crisis pregnancy centers and other organizations that actively work to protect all forms of life.
Teens have a lot to offer when it comes to pro-life ministry. By bringing pro-life issues out of the church setting and into every day conversation, teens can make their peers more aware of and interested in the respect for life that starts at the moment of conception and ends at natural death. As Goodwin states, “Young people can influence their friends in ways that adults cannot.”
The four additional finalists for this year’s contest included Megan Borowski, Monsignor Donovan High School, Toms River; Jessica Ihem, Villa Victoria Academy, Ewing; Denise Ruiz,Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton, and Joseph Schondel, Mater Dei Prep, New Monmouth.
Rachel Hipschman is a member of St. Catharine Parish, Holmdel, and a long-time team member of the diocesan teen television show, Realfaith TV.[[In-content Ad]]