Senior Adelaide Machado Ulm and junior Priya Kelly received a surprise in the mail last month when the Knights of Columbus of Washington Council #224 alerted them to their award-winning essays from a Catholic Citizens Essay Contest last spring. The contest was adjusted to a "send us your best!" format during the pandemic, encouraging students to submit a best work from that academic year.
Priya's essay on feminine genius received second place in the competition and was also acknowledged as "Best Theological Paper." Adelaide's opinion piece on "Why I'm Catholic," a version of which was previously published in the Wicket student newspaper last spring, received a "super" rating (93-100).
Adelaide was pleasantly surprised to see an envelope addressed her way that was not a college brochure; she had all but forgotten about the submission from last spring. "I was thrilled to know the Knights of Columbus appreciated the reflection, although more important to me was that I know my work can provoke thoughtful conversation among those who read it," said Adelaide.
Re-titled "God Around Us," Adelaide wrote: "Our opinions on issues don’t define us as Catholics. It’s our Creed. We believe in one God, we believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, we believe in the Holy Spirit, and we believe in one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church."
Priya was "estatic" to receive "Best Theological Essay" and top marks in the competition. She received a cash prize as part of her award for her essay on feminine genius.
"I thoroughly enjoyed writing this paper for my Religion final about the empowerment of women through their hidden strength," said Priya. Her thesis stated, "Upon reflection on the writing of John Paul II, the theology of the feminine genius can be understood to be how women are able to use their genuine nature and underlying strength to aide in the improvement of the Church and those around them."
Congratulations to Priya, Adelaide, and all essay contest winners!