Bethlehem Catholic Seniors Winners in Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Essay Contest

(L to R) Dillon Murphy, Jordan Toohey, and Elizabeth Leib
(Photos courtesy of Bethlehem Catholic High School)

Staff writer

Three members of the Bethlehem Catholic High School (Becahi) class of 2019 took top honors in the senior high category of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Essay Contest.

Dillon Murphy won first place with his essay, “Tragic Lessons from the Animal Kingdom – and An Ancient Kingdom on Losing Respect for Life.”

Murphy, son of Kenneth Murphy and Carie Norcross-Murphy, is slated to attend Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. this fall.

Murphy’s essay pointed out the similarities between humans and primates, noting “primates are known to kill their own offspring in the early months of life.”

“One might assume that such an act as infanticide, the killing of babies within one year of life, is hardly humane at all, and would never occur in a civilized society,” Murphy wrote.

“After all, humans, despite our similarities to primates, are far more intelligent and sophisticated than our mammal relatives right? Unfortunately, one’s insight and assumptions could not be further from the truth; millions of innocent babies worldwide have fallen victim to infanticide for a multitude of reasons, including gender selection and a parent’s inability to care for the child”

Murphy continued the essay discussing China’s legacy of infanticide.

Jordan Toohey, who took second place, is the daughter of Michael and Debra Toohey and plans to attend the University of Scranton this fall. Her essay focused on euthanasia.

Elizabeth Leib, third place, is the daughter of Jeffrey and Victoria Leib and plans to attend Dickinson College, Carlisle, this fall. Her essay focused on infanticide.

Robert Gowell, chair of the theology department at Becahi, advised students on the essays. Students write the essays as one of the assignments in their senior year theology classes.

Gowell said Becahi students have placed in the contest several times in the past: 2018, first and third place; 2017, first, second and third place; 2016, first and third place; and 2015, first place.

Read the winning essays in the LifeLines newsletter.  The essays are on page 8.