2020-2021 High School Essay Contest

fountain pen

The Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture at the University of Portland is pleased to announce the award recipients of the 2020-2021 Garaventa Center High School Essay Contest.

This year's essay prompt was: What is Real?

We spend more and more time online in a “virtual” world, but the things we do there—learning, aspiring, encountering others—feel real to us. This invites us to ask what is merely appearance, and what is real? Consider the possibility that our time interacting with an intangible world might help us engage with a Divine reality that we cannot see.

Congratulations to the top winners:

Josiah Liebert, Handshake De La Salle North Catholic High School (OR)
Elizabeth Lowry, To Love a Jellyfish Sting St. Mary’s Academy (OR)

Congratulations to those receiving honorable mentions:

Grace Brown, I, Rabbit Tri-Cities Prep Catholic High School (WA)
Bronwyn McGovern, It's Not Virtual... It's Real Seton Catholic College Prep (WA)
Ella Sohn, Gold Flakes Jesuit High School (OR)

Click on essay titles to read the winning entries.

Please extend our sincere appreciation to your faculty and counselors for their support of this annual contest. We received an exceptional batch of submissions this year from juniors at Catholic high schools all along the West Coast. Essays are judged anonymously, without names or school affiliations. Information regarding next year’s essay competition will be posted in the fall.

Again, congratulations to the winners of the 2020-2021 Garaventa Center High School Essay Contest!