This past Lent, Sr. Jeanne Marie Akalski’s Fourth Grade class at St. Joseph School received a special visit from Emmanuel Communications’ President, Cindy Dorsey to recognize their classmate, Brett McCarthy who was chosen as a Weekly Winner in Emmanuel Radio’s 2019 Catholic Schools Essay Contest. Mrs. Dorsey recently made a second trip to meet with the class, and it was even more exciting than the first! During her second visit, Mrs. Dorsey was accompanied by The Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester and Dr. David Perda, Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the diocese. The group was there to recognize Brett for being selected as the Grand Prize Winner in the essay contest. In recognition of this accomplishment, Brett won a pizza party with the Bishop and Dr. Perda for his entire class. In addition, Brett received an award and several prizes including a statue of the Blessed Mother and a dozen tickets to the Worcester Bravehearts baseball game for his family and friends.

The topic for the 2019 essay contest was “The Value of Moral Discipline in the Catholic Faith.” The contest was open to Catholic school and home-schooled students in Kindergarten through grade 12. Essayists were asked to consider the following: “God has given every human being freedom of choice, but this doesn’t mean we have the right to do whatever we want. What moral and spiritual values have you learned from your faith that you can share with all the people in our country so we can live together in harmony?”

Over 7,000 students in the Diocese of Worcester were involved in this essay contest. Brett’s essay earned the Grand Prize for “reminding all of us of the spiritual value of non-violence, and the importance of making the right choices at school, at home, and in our Catholic faith.” In addition to Bishop McManus and Dr. Perda, Headmaster Msgr. Anthony Czarnecki, Principal Michael Hackenson, Rev. Grzegorz Chodkowski, Brett’s mother, Melissa McCarthy, his grandmother, Kathleen Czechowski, and Brett’s aunt, Kimberly Czechowski, joined Brett and Sr. Jeanne for the special luncheon and award. Congratulations, Brett!