35th RESPECT LIFE ESSAY CONTEST

The Respect Life Essay Contest is an annual event for students in grades K-12 in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, with grade-appropriate prompts around a specific theme each year. All students that live and/or attend school in the Archdiocese of San Francisco can participate, including those in Catholic school, public school, and home school. This year will mark 35 years of this essay being held in our Archdiocese.

This contest is a gentle way of raising awareness about different topics that pertain to the dignity of the human person. This year’s contest theme is “Adoption as a concrete way of Love”.

This is a great opportunity for students to show their creativity in writing and drawing. Past themes have included “Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the Unborn”, “Open Wide your hearts; Pastoral Letter against Racism”, “Life is a Blessing: The Dignity of Children with Down syndrome”, to name a few.

Please continue to scroll down to find downloadable instructions. Alternatively, you can find all instructions on this site, including links and videos to be used. We look forward to your participation! If you have any questions, contact [email protected].

2024 Respect Life Essay Contest Guidelines and Questions

 The videos and other resources are attached below. Entries are due by January 26, 2024. A perfect time to do this is during Respect Life month in October.  

However, you are welcome to submit your entries at any time between August 2023 and January 26, 2024. 

Winners will receive cash prizes. More information on these, found in the Contest Guidelines & Questions document below. 

Entries should be mailed to:

Archdiocese of San Francisco
Attn: Respect Life Essay Contest
One Peter Yorke Way
San Francisco, CA 94109

A Mass and awards ceremony will be celebrated on a Sunday in April at 11:00 am at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. An RSVP form will be available after the winners have been announced and people will be invited to rsvp once we get closer to the event.

Adoption as a Concrete Way of Love

This year’s essay contest will focus on the topic of adoption. The contest hopes to raise awareness of the beauty of adoption. Giving a child a family means giving them hope, love, and belonging, which we all desire. 

Address of Saint Pope John Paul II, to the meeting of the adoptive families, organized by the Missionaries of Charity:

Adopting children, regarding and treating them as one’s own children, means recognizing that the relationship between parents and children is not measured only by genetic standards. Procreative love is first and foremost a gift of self. There is a form of “procreation” which occurs through acceptance, concern and devotion. The resulting relationship is so intimate and enduring that it is in no way inferior to one based on a biological connection. When this is also juridically protected, as it is in adoption, in a family united by the stable bond of marriage, it assures the child that peaceful atmosphere and that paternal and maternal love which he needs for his full human development.”*




Videos and Questions

 

Prompts for Grades K-2 

Kinder: Watch the video “Yes, I’m adopted!” (on the left- duration: 1:56 mins). Teachers or parents have the children draw an image of a family receiving the gift of a new child by adoption. Kids can draw happy moments they imagine.

1st and 2nd grade: Watch the video “Yes, I’m adopted!”.

Teachers or parents have the children draw an image of a family receiving the gift of a new child. A picture that shows that God loves all children, and some children are adopted by loving parents.

Have children write a sentence or two describing their picture.

Please do not provide the students with any pre-made pictures for coloring. You can draw for them an example (s) but let them create the image (s) themselves  

 

Prompts for Grades 3-4

3rd and 4th grade:

Choose one of the 2 following selections to draft your comic strip. 

Watch the “Yes! I’m Adopted” video (on the left- duration: 1:56 mins).

Or

Read the article “Famous people who were adopted”

Teachers or parents, after watching the video or reading the article with the children, please have the children create a comic strip highlighting the gift of having a new child by adoption by a mother and a father. Use the video or article for inspiration.   

Have the children create a comic strip highlighting the gift of having a new child by adoption. 

Remember to write a short description on each section of your comic strip so we know what each strip on your comic describes. 

 

 

Prompt for Grades 5 and 6:

Watch  The power of adoption   (on the left-duration: 2 minutes) 

Or 

Read one of the 2 articles: “15 Saints for adoption” or “Famous people who were adopted” 

After reading or viewing the video, choose one of the following questions and write 2 or 3 paragraph reflection from the question chosen.

  1. What have you learned about adoption based on the video that you saw or what you read?
  2. What would you tell a potential mother considering giving her child for adoption?
  3. How does adoption change lives?

Remember to write (2-3 paragraphs) – handwritten or typed.

 

Prompt for Grades 7 and 8:

Watch the documentary “I Lived on Parker Avenue” (on the left- duration: 30 mins)

Or

Read the following 2 articles titled “15 Saints for adoption,” and “Famous people who were adopted.”

After reading the articles, or watching the documentary, please choose one of the following questions to respond to, and write 3 or 4 paragraphs:

  1. What have you learned about adoption based on the video ( or articles) ?
  2. What would you tell a potential mother considering placing her child for adoption?
  3. How does adoption change lives?

Remember to Write (3-4 paragraphs essay) –  typed. 

Grades 9-12

Students in Grades 9-12 are to respond to the following directions:

Watch the documentary “I Lived on Parker Avenue” (above) and look at the resources provided below. Feel free to read any that will help you choose and respond to one of the following questions.

Choose one of the following questions and write 4 to 5 typed paragraphs.
 
1. How was the life and work of the Saints a reflection of our individual call to help those less fortunate than us, particularly in our call to love through adoption? Write a letter to a potential birth mother to consider placing her child for adoption and connect it to the call to love as witnessed by the Saints.
 Or
2. Based on the documentary (I lived on Parker Avenue) of the boy who was given up for adoption, what have you learned about adoption and what will you tell a potential birth mother considering placing her child for adoption?

Resources
1- Springs of Love: Their mission is to encourage, educate and equip Catholics to discern and live out the call to foster and adopt. 
2- Saints for adoption
3- Famous people who were adopted
4- EWTN’s interview with Kirk and Chelsea Cameron on How Adoption Has Shaped Their Lives
5- *Address of the Holy Father John Paul II to the meeting of the adoptive families organized by the Missionaries of Charity
6- Preface by EWTN about the documentary story
7- Resources from USCCB