This year marks the 5th anniversary of the Father Ted Colleton Scholarship program. More than one hundred students have participated in the program, producing interesting and insightful essays on a variety of topics dealing with life issues. On these pages appear their thoughts, concerns and hopes for the pro-life movement in Canada.

We were impressed by their knowledge, commitment, spirituality and activism. We are fortunate that youth has so much to offer and are prepared to work for justice and human dignity.

If you wish to support this scholarship program, you can donate to the Father Ted Colleton Scholarship through Niagara Region RTL, a sponsor organization. Your donation to them qualifies for charitable tax receipt. Please help this particular apostolate in the education of youth regarding human rights for the unborn and all who suffer indignities and loss of life because they are powerless and voiceless.

Those of us who have been given more should contribute more. Those of us who have been welcomed into the pro-life families, been raised in God-fearing homes, educated in morally sound schools, have a particularly grave responsibility to bring light to the world. There are those who only get their values from the media, who believe that the only sin is intolerance and the greatest freedom is the right to choose abortion. Not to recognize their own dignity as children of God, they fail to recognize it in the unborn, the disabled and the elderly. Those of us who see, must help those who are blind.
tephen Tardiff, St. Michael’s College School, Winner, 2001-2002

Our responsibility is to love; really, this is the essence of the pro-life message … We must lead our peers with peace, humility and acceptance. This type of self giving love includes the compassion we must have for the “unwanted” child, the despairing pregnant mother, the struggling cancer patient, and the confused and lost abortionist.
Bethany Burns, St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School, Tecumseh, 2001-2002

Silence is debilitating, and we can only combat it by being more involved in pro life activities. The opportunities exist, but it is up to us to grab hold of them. We have a responsibility to preserve the accomplishments of the pro-life activists who have gone before us, and leave a better world for those who will come after. After all, who among us would want to die knowing we could have saved a life?
Abigail Sequeira, Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School, Toronto, 2001-2002

How could someone become human at birth and have been mysteriously non human a few seconds prior to birth. It makes no scientific sense. A woman may claim the right to do with her own body whatever she pleases, but the unborn baby is not her body. A baby is a separate human person, who by the mother’s argument also has the right to do with her/his body whatever she/he pleases.
Shaun Shmyr, Rossburn Collegiate, 2001-2002

Youth, I believe, are ready for the truth. They have listened to and been exposed to everything else and haven’t found contentment.
Laura Durocher, St. Peter’s High School, Peterborough, 2002-2003.

Life is the only choice, for without it, nothing is possible.
Sean Weetom, Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy, Markham, 2002-2003.

Babies with Spina Bifida, Downs Syndrome, Edward’s Syndrome and any other abnormalities that can be detected before birth are targets of the killing rampage. We are forced to remain voiceless before the judge, only to be condemned and the verdict is death. Our only crime is a disability. In some countries, because I am female and disabled, I would be at the top of the “To Kill” list.
Marya Carroll, St. Patrick High School, Thunder Bay, Winner 2002-2003

To think of a human being as ‘too much’ or ‘inconvenient’ is to shut the door on human dignity and the rights of all people. Doesn’t it seem strange that respected governments can successfully eliminate prejudice and discrimination toward different genders and races, but they can’t find it in themselves to erase a law that allows the intentional death of the most innocent of human beings?
Dan Donohue, St. Patrick’s High School, 2003-2004

We are the voices of the children yet to be born. We deliver the message that will save lives. We have a duty and a responsibility as citizens to protect, defend, educate and speak on behalf of the unborn children who do not have a voice, and cannot defend themselves.
ean Rideout, Assumption College School, Winner 2003-2004

If a politician is unsure about how to answer personal, moral questions, can they handle the rigor of politics?
Clare Halpine, J.M.A. Armstrong High School, Salisbury, 2004-2005

I have decided not to let the pro-life cause be silenced by any views possessed by teachers, my schoolbooks, or any other person or organization that is against the pro-life cause…I have walked out on secular class lessons that tried to teach that the world is overpopulated, and that the overpopulation is the leading factor in the problems of starvation and poverty throughout the world.
Tara Rankin, Dalbrae Academy, Mabou, 2004-2005

Perhaps the most important way we can support the pro-life cause is by our prayers. We can pray for those with threatened lives, for those who fight for the rights of these people, and especially for those who represent us in office, that they may also respect the lives of humans.
Rebecca Mombourquette, Assumption College, 2004-2005

Participation in the March was critical because it proved to us that the abortionists were wrong… It showed that despite the abortionists’ jargon that pro-life people are out of touch with humanity or unenlightened, the abortionists are the ones who ignore the true impulse of the human heart; they are the ones who cannot answer the argument for life.
Sean Whelan, Summersville, West Virginia, 2004-2005

Being the pro-life MP candidate can feel very lonely sometimes, but having the “future voters” helping out with their campaign gives hope to them and what they stand for. Jessica Devlin, St. Mary’s Catholic High School, Woodstock, 2004 2005.

Society progresses rather than regresses, insofar as it recognizes the intrinsic dignity of the human person, the right to life, the value of the family, and works for a civilization of love. The election of pro-life candidates is the natural result of a society that values life and a democracy, which is guided by enduring moral principles not utilitarian ideology.
Eric Mason, St. Peter’s High School, Peterborough, Winner 2004-2005.

The ugliness of abortion is hidden from society. A lot of young people see abortion as an answer to a problem, not a problem itself.
Andrea Miner, Saranac Lake High School, New York, 2004-2005

Secularism and modernism are ‘religions’ which teach the doctrine of self or individualism. One’s own feelings and comfort become one’s primary concern. To be perceived as a “good person” it is sufficient that one does not appear to cause harm to another. People using drugs, contraception, or having premarital relationships “are not hurting anyone” so secularism would dictate that what they do is morally right. The existence of objective morality is denied and it leads people to follow their emotions instead of moral law.
Elizabeth Lemieux, St. Clement High School, Ottawa, 2005-2006

A human being is alive inside its mother, a tiny person, separate and connected from its mother in the same sense, but still sheltered with her protection and love. A true gift and blessing from God…why then, taking these points into consideration, do women feel it is their choice to take away their child’s divine right of life, the most fundamental right of all, a right given by God?
Vanessa Sperduti, St. Anne’s Catholic High School, Tecumseh, 2005-2006

All is not lost. Our society is in need of more than just a band-aid, but with work, patience and, most of all, prayer, we can help to turn these self-centred rights issues into ones that focus on the true meaning of the right to life.
Christopher Whalen is the winner of the 2006 Fr. Ted Colleton Essay Contest