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Students reflect on Scecina experience in essay contest

Scecina President Joe Therber with sophomore Gabby Coleman, winner of the 2018 Catholic Schools Week essay contest.  

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

 This year, I decided to sponsor an essay contest during Catholic Schools Week. I wanted to hear directly from our students about how their Scecina experience reflected the Catholic Schools Week theme of “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” 

The essay contest was voluntary and didn’t involve classes and teachers. The 14 students who decided on their own to participate wrote compelling essays that were heartfelt and convincing. They were expressing, in their own words, how the Catholic school experience at Scecina was molding their lives. 

Fourteen Scecina students participated in the Catholic Schools Week essay contest.  

To help judge the contest, I asked Scecina President Joe Therber and Vice President of Advancement Bob Golobish to read all the essays and choose their top three. One student’s essay appeared on both of their top-three lists: sophomore Gabby Coleman, who won $150. The main Catholic School Week theme that her essay highlighted was “Serve.” 

She and the 13 other students who participated were honored at the Feb. 6 school Mass. The other students, who won Starbucks gift cards, are: Max Denney, Angelica Gonzalez, James Hentz, Tori Hunt, Lorena Luna, Alexandra Marshall, Marie Owens, Areli Rodriguez, Juan Sanchez, Owen Schreiber, Christina Schroedle, Sam Staufer and Grace Swinefurth. 

Here is Gabby’s winning essay: 

I find it difficult to share a lot about myself with people, but during Catholic Schools Week, I think it is important for my peers and teachers to get to know me and why I am so proud to be a part of Scecina Memorial High School. 

During grade school, I attended three different schools, hoping to fit in somewhere. Finally, in middle school, I was able to attend St. Lawrence Catholic School. My mother had always wanted for me to attend Catholic school, as she attended parochial school growing up and obviously knew its benefits. 

The opportunity was heaven-sent! I made friends immediately and I felt my teachers genuinely cared about me as a person and my growth as a student. I quickly learned that being myself was OK, and that I didn’t need to impress anyone to feel part of the school. As the middle school years flew by, I found myself in high school, at Scecina as a Crusader. 

Being able to attend Scecina is not only giving me an advantage in my education that a lot of other teens don’t have, it’s also molding me into the Christian and young lady that I’m developing into. 

I’m not too proud to share that I’m attending Scecina from the assistance and generosity of others. This is very significant to me. I know that it is my responsibility as a recipient of others’ good will and as a student of Scecina to give back to my community. I share my time in our school assisting where needed and I help donate my time through our Baking Club for school or community events. 

During school breaks, I volunteer with my grandmother at our church’s food pantry. While helping out this year, I truly learned that giving is receiving. 

Being able to serve my community and give of my time has touched me in a way that I’ve never expected. I found that sharing and helping is a true reward - not a reward as in a monetary reward, but in self-fulfillment. Even after my years at Scecina are done, I plan to devote a part of my life as a humanitarian and continue giving to those in need. 

4 comments (Add your own)

1. Dan Bruno '77 wrote:
What a great, heart-felt reflection! Congratulations to Gabby, her Family, and to all at Scecina who do such wonderful work contributing to the success of so many young adults like Gabby.

Tue, February 27, 2018 @ 8:31 AM

2. Thomas Griffin &#39 wrote:
Judging from the HS students in Florida and Gabby's heartfelt comments we have nothing to worry about the future of our country. They are probably more suited to lead our country than our current leadership! Gabby, I really enjoyed reading your essay- you are a most deserving winner.

Mon, March 5, 2018 @ 4:16 PM

3. Charles Walke wrote:
Jim McGuinness was kind enough to send me this excellent essay written by an obviously outstanding young woman. I attended Catholic schools from Kindergarten through my senior year in college. For most of those years I lived in Syracuse, NY but for 18 months in 1956-1957 I was, like Gabby, fortunate to be a Crusader. Those 18 months at Scecina were transformative for me as I was beginning my journey to young adulthood. I am proud that I was a member of the amazing 1956 Crusader football team. Coaches Bill Sylvester and Bill Kuntz were not only coaches but inspirations to the young men they led and taught. I am proud that I knew many of the members of Scecina's first graduating class. I have fond memories of the dear Sisters OSF Oldenburg. But most of all I remember the leadership and personal kindness I received from Father Harry Hoover. I believe the real strength of Scecina is the fact that since 1953 it has been nurturing young men and women such as Gabby Coleman. It is my sincere hope that 60 years from now Gabby can look back on her years at Scecina with as much joy as do I. I also hope that when she does look back on her time at Scecina, the school will still be producing such fine young men and women. Congratualtions Gabby!

Mon, March 5, 2018 @ 8:29 PM

4. Charles Walker wrote:
AS an edit to my comment above, my name is Charles Walker not Walke and I would have been a member of the class of 1959.

Mon, March 5, 2018 @ 8:31 PM

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