The Interim newspaper and Niagara Region Right to Life have teamed up again to offer the Fr. Ted Colleton Scholarship for the 12th year. The scholarship, created with Fr. Ted Colleton’s blessing, was founded to encourage young people to learn about, and engage, pro-life issues and become involved in the pro-life movement.

Program administrator Dan Di Rocco, a former high school principal who now serves as the circulation manager of The Interim, told the paper that the scholarship honours Fr. Ted’s contributions to the pro-life movement. Fr. Ted Colleton was a long-time Interim contributor who spoke across the country about pro-life and raised more than a million dollars for the pro-life cause.

The essay contest is open to Grade 11 and 12 high school students around the world, although the majority of entrants are Canadians. Essays can be submitted in English or French.

The 2013-2014 contest directs candidates to address the theme: “Identify and discuss the most significant factors which have spawned the culture of death. Suggest a solution that would foster the culture of life.”

There are three prizes: $1,500 first prize, $800 second prize, and $500 third prize.

Contestants must submit (preferably by e-mail to a typed original essay (in English or French) on this year’s topic, approximately 1,200 words in length, with one letter of reference from a school staff member or community representative, and a brief self-profile outlining participation in school life/community activities and a description of their interest and/or involvement in the pro-life cause.

Di Rocco noted that there is a non-essay component that also is considered in the evaluation. Letters of reference and a demonstrated commitment to pro-life activities, either in the school setting or in the wider community, are also elements of the contest, although a lack of prior involvement in the pro-life movement does not disqualify students from the scholarships.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 1, 2013.

Di Rocco said many students learn about the essay online and through the pro-life media such as The Interim and LifeSiteNews, but most are encouraged to participate by teachers at their high schools. He said some teachers incorporate the theme of the essay into their religion, philosophy, or English classes and that such work can be submitted for consideration, too.

Di Rocco said the program not only rewards quality essays, but encourages high school students to become more involved in pro-life. Past winners of the Fr. Ted Colleton Scholarship have gone on to become involved in campus pro-life groups, work as summer students at Campaign Life Coalition and other pro-life groups, lobby at the United Nations, and write for the paper.

Winners will be declared by Jan. 31, 2014. The top three essays are published in The Interim in the Spring.

Last year’s winners were Darren Periera, Alexandra Jezierski, and Katrina Fackelmann, who wrote on the topic, “Effective witness in the public square requires a new focus on what is important to young people. What can be done to convince young people, your peer group, that ‘the life issues are not only genuine social-justice issues; but they are the priority social-justice issues’?”

Di Rocco said the pro-life community can gain hope from those who submit essays to the Scholarship program, noting many are not only academically superior students but involved in the community. “They invariably are outstanding students, not just academically, but in their involvement in school and community life.” He also said, “the young are brave, outspoken, and quite eloquent in the way they express their convictions.”

 For more information email Dan Di Rocco at or check The Interim website.