Congratulations to the three winners of our student essay contest - Hazel Tabora of Peterson Elementary School, Sam Butler of Pritzker Elementary School, and Sammie Devitt of NCA! The essay prompt challenged students to write about finding the good news within the bad news and how this good news reflects the message of Jesus.
Our bulletins will feature each of the three winners' essays over the next few weeks.
Thank you to all who participated and to our judges!
When we hear about the bad news it brings a sense of community and action for people striving to help stop injustices or to protect our environment. Natural disasters and pandemics, as unfortunate as they are, have a way to bring people together. The recent fires and hurricanes have made people realize that we have to start working to protect the world that God gave us. Our resources are not infinite, and the natural disasters are making that message clear to all of us. This bad news, natural disasters, somehow brings out the best of the human race. The pandemic that the world has been suffering for the last two years has taught people empathy and the importance of the safety of others. Because we are all going through the same experience it has brought understanding and kindness to people. We have learned the importance of trusting others and reliable sources.
In school, the ostracization, bullying, and unkindness of students is evident. Hearing about how kids at school treat others is another example of bad news. Personally, I find it difficult to take a grand gesture of action, but instead I will talk to bullied students and make them included. This is an example of how one can make a positive difference in the lives of others. During recess I often see another student sitting alone in the corner of the field. He has a disability, and many students ignore him or bother him when they do interact with him. I often converse with him or kick a soccer ball with him. He seems happy to have someone to play with and I'm happy to help him have a sense of belonging. I think these smaller gestures are as important as bigger ones that draw more attention. The good news can be delivered in different ways and this is my way of delivering it.
The two instances above both reflect the message of Jesus in different ways. Jesus spread the good news by sharing his personal stories and this brought people together. He was always trying to find the sparks of good news through the bad that showed what a Christian was. Treating others with kindness no matter who they are was something that Jesus often preached. He believed that all people should be shown respect and inclusion. He also believed that working together for a common goal, whether that goal be to stop injustices or stopping the spread of the pandemic, can bring the human race together. These examples are ways that Jesus' message is still alive and relevant today. When we follow His word it brings out the best in humanity.
In 1999, Caroline Nguyen Ticarro founded the Catalyst Foundation.
At the age of four, she fled from Vietnam along with thousands of other Vietnamese people and came to America. She loved Vietnam and returned 23 years later and adopted two children. Inspired by her return, she wanted to help the country she came from and loved.
Caroline has been doing good by walking straight across the line of poverty and suffering and lending a hand, a house, and help to those suffering in Vietnam. She fights against poverty, human trafficking, and child human rights. She and her impressive nonprofit organization help hundreds of people, offering humanitarian aid and charitable work.
The Catalyst Foundation is a catalyst for change, good, and hope. I myself would not be here today if it weren't for her efforts. And thanks to her incredible knowledge and skill in Vietnamese adoption, I was able to find and meet my Vietnamese mother. She is the reason I and hundreds of children and families stand here today. She catalyzed my life into prosperity and hope.
In 2001, the UN set seventeen goals for sustainable development. That was to be used to address their policies and work targets for the upcoming 15 years. These goals had no effort or word towards the issues of human rights and economic development. Caroline quickly resolved to make people aware of these issues and let the world know that her message along with the UN's would not be silenced. Everyone has a part to play in economic development and the future of humankind.
She overcame judgement and prejudice towards the Asian community and worked against Asian prejudice on both sides of earth. Caroline changes the world. She doesn't back down. Her mission stays the same. She worked 20 years in the poorest parts of Vietnam fighting against sexism and racism. She supplies when there is need. She helps when no one will, she brings up generations and leads them into growth. She helps families adopt Vietnamese children and aids as soon as issues arise.
In conclusion, she is changing the world and fights for good in a world of unfairness, poverty, sexism and racism, bringing light into darkness and breaking the glass ceiling and putting a ceiling over the heads of those in need. She is a true force for change and good.
The last couple of years have brought new challenges to the entire world. A global pandemic due to COVID-19 has changed everyone's life. Many bad, maybe even horrible, things emerged from the pandemic. There has been an incredible amount of death and suffering due to COVID-19. We experienced a lockdown, unable to go to school, and limited contact outside of our family. The pandemic also caused supply chain issues. Even though bad things have happened, good still shines through. People have come together to help each other. We are all in this together.
The pandemic brought an incredible amount of suffering and death. It was hard to watch the numbers climb out of control. But through these bad times the humanity and goodness of the world shined through. Health care workers were heroes. They not only worked to save lives, but they put their own lives at risk to save others. There was a global effort to stop the spread of COVID and researchers across the world worked together to quickly come up with a vaccine. Through actions big or small, people came together to help each other as Jesus taught us.
Another hard thing that emerged from the pandemic is the lockdown. People were forced to stay in their own homes with their family. Schools, businesses, and restaurants were shut down. Everyone was stuck at home, bonding with their families and pets. There were more family dinners, game nights, movie nights, and time together. Families bonded like never before, since there were no sports, and everyone was working from home and going to schools online. People learned patience and appreciated their families. Jesus told us to love our brothers and sisters. Family is important.
Finally, another challenge that the pandemic brings are supply chain issues. Many things are out of stock or are taking a long time to ship. The supply chain issues have affected the availability of essential items like food and medicine. But with this problem we discovered that many things we think we need, we really don't. We learned how to go without or go with less than we normally would. Whether you had creative new dinners or are wearing your parent's clothes because you grew out of your own, everyone seemed to manage alright. Everyone figured out how to get creative and make our own things and come up with our own ideas. The world's materialistic focus was blurred by supply chain issues. We became grateful for what we had and the time we spent together.
This pandemic may have caused distress, dismay, and sadness. However, it brought us together and brought out the best in us. The world has gone through some tough times - an incredible amount of death, a lockdown, and supply chain problems. But we have managed to figure out how to cope with our family and friends. By practicing what Jesus taught us, we are practicing kindness, patience, and treating others the way we want to be treated. People have come together to help each other. We are all in this together.
This weekend, we are celebrating Fr. Mike Bradley and his many years of service as a priest and his time at St. Gertrude as he retires!