WASHINGTON (April 25, 2001) -- Winners have been announced for the first Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Multi-Media Youth Arts contest.
Shireen Groleau, an eighth-grade student and parishioner at Holy Angels Church, Aurora, Ill., won first place for her poem titled "Building Dignity." She will receive a grand prize worth $1,000. Groleau will receive a $500 cash award and an equal amount will be designated in her name to a CCHD-funded project.
Joseph Peters, a student at Cathedral High School, Springfield, Mass., won second place for his visual art entry, a pastel titled "In the Spirit of Jesus." The second place award is worth $750. Peters will receive $375, with an equal amount to be donated to a CCHD-funded organization.
Third place was awarded to the collaborative effort of 24 seventh-grade students at Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Cleveland, Ohio. The students produced a computer slide show to explain the work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in combating poverty. The third place award is worth $500. The students will share $250 in cash, with an equal donation to the CCHD-funded organization they select.
The art contest was open to students in grades seven through 12 in Catholic schools and parishes. Students were asked to develop the theme "Helping People Help Themselves" through visual arts, audio-visual means or literature. They were asked to submit original work that depicts community-based responses to poverty. Winners of diocesan-level competitions were forwarded to Washington for the final judging by a panel of professionals in the fields of art and religion.
In announcing the winners, Rev. Robert J. Vitillo, CCHD executive director, said, "I am pleased with the response to this year's first competition and look forward to similar outstanding entries next year. The thoughtful preparation of entries shows that students are beginning to understand the extent of poverty in this country. More than 32 million people live in poverty in the United States and one in six is a child." Father Vitillo pointed out that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development plays a key role in the church's efforts to put an end to poverty in this country.
The grand prize winner will be honored during the keynote address May 2 in Buffalo, N.Y., in conjunction with the annual meeting of the National Conference on Catechetical Leadership (NCCL). Next year's winners will be honored at the National Catholic Educational Association annual convention.
Honorable mentions and $50 prizes will be presented to:
Team Project, St. James School, Manchester, Conn. (visual arts)
Allison Hedges, St Pius X Church (visual arts)
Philip Caire, St Jean Vianney School, Baton Rouge, La. (visual arts)
Eighth-Grade Class, St Teresa School, Titusville Fla. (literature)
Kelly Phillips, Patterson, Calif. (literature)
The Multi-Media Youth Arts Contests was developed by CCHD to reach out to youth and to encourage them to work in a creative way on projects that respond to the issues of poverty and injustice in the United States.
Father Vitillo said that the words of the U.S. Bishops in their 1998 document, "Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Reflections" served as a catalyst for CCHD in initiating the arts competition. The bishops stated, "Because this commitment to social justice is at the heart of who we are and what we believe, it must be shared more effectively....This is a call to action, an appeal especially to pastors, educators, and catechists to teach the Catholic social tradition in its fullness."
Additional information about the contest and other CCHD initiatives for Catholic youth and young adults is available at the Website www.nccbuscc.org/cchd/youth.htm or by calling (202) 541-3151.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the domestic, anti-poverty and social justice program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. For 30 years it has addressed the root causes of poverty through support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through transformative education. Last year, CCHD provided grants in excess of $10 million to community and economic development projects throughout the nation.
Additional information about the organization and its anti-poverty work also can be found at the Website www.povertyusa.org.