A student from Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic School in Grand Rapids has won first place at the diocesan-level in a nationwide art contest promoting awareness of anti-poverty efforts.
The annual “Creating on the Margins” art contest from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development invites students in grades 7-12 to explore U.S. poverty or related issues, like migration, in the context of their faith. This year’s theme was “Share the Journey of Young Migrants and Refugees,” tying into the global “Share the Journey” campaign to support refugees and migrants. Share the Journey is an initiative by Pope Francis, Caritas Internationalis, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Relief Services.
Creating on the Margins participants around the United States submitted entries to their diocese, with diocesan-level winners then being submitted to the national-level contest. Entries were evaluated based on their creativity and on essay answers demonstrating understanding of how to respond as Christ’s disciples when people in our communities are living in poverty.
Eighth-grader Lana C. composed and performed an original song called, “Bring Them Home,” for the contest. She was inspired by the story of her father’s and uncle’s journey to the United States; as children, they left the country of their birth because of violence and had to make their home in an unfamiliar place.
Several of Lana’s Saint Thomas peers came in second and third place at the diocesan level. Ella R. and Kenzie T. created a piece called, “The Working Hands of Our Immigrants,” featuring handprints bearing the names of classmates’ relatives who immigrated to the U.S.; they won second place. Third-place finisher Lucy F. created a felt tapestry called, “We are America,” depicting a multi-colored map of the U.S., highlighting the cultural diversity which makes the country such a vibrant place.
Pictured above, from left to right, are Mary Wernet (the CCHD intern who coordinated the contest in the Diocese of Grand Rapids), second-place finisher Kenzie, Lana, Saint Thomas principal Suzi Furtwangler, and Maggie Walsh (CCHD diocesan director).