Respect Life Day to occur during March for Life

Respect Life Day to occur during March for Life

Last year’s Respect Life club moderator Dan Briggs and other club members display their signs in front of the Capitol building on Jan. 24, 2011. Because of high participation this year, a Respect Life Day will be held in school on Jan. 23.

Kailey Tracy, Copy Editor

“This is fulfilling a dream I had since I first came here in July,” Principal Madelyn Ball said.  Ball wanted “to have so many students participate in the March for Life that it would be impossible to have our regular classes that day,” she said.  Ball’s dream has transformed into reality.

According to Respect Life Club moderator Christopher Yeung, due to the Respect Life Club and the religion teachers’ promotions of the March for Life, over 140 students are attending the March on Jan. 23.

The Lifestyles story on the March’s high participation this year can be read here. The News story on last year’s March for Life can be read here.

“Principal Ball has decided that we cannot run on a regular schedule and has opted instead to have a Respect Life Day program that day,” Yeung said.

“Because of this unexpected number [of students attending the March], we are trying lots of new things,” religion teacher Rachel Harkins said.

Faculty and students who planned this day include Ball, Yeung, Harkins, Respect Life Club President Nick Henninger, and Campus Minster Patty Murphy Dohn.

“Miss Harkins brought to the table a wealth of knowledge and resources to help us plan out this day.  Her experience as Campus Minister at Mount DeSales Academy was invaluable in making this all come to be.  Also, Dr. Yeung has put an incredible amount of time and effort towards this day,” Henninger said.

“It is really the participation of the whole school community that is enabling this to happen,” Yeung said.

For students remaining at school on Jan. 23, the program will consist of watching the movie “Bella” about a woman in a crisis pregnancy, witnessing speeches from Birthright and Rachel’s House, having Skype and Twitter discussions with those at the March, celebrating Mass, and discussing the topics in small groups.

“I think it [the Respect Life Day] is a good idea because everyone can get a respect life experience,” senior Rebecca Falter said.

This appears to be just what the coordinators were aiming for.  “Ultimately, we want this day to be a celebration of life.  We hope and pray that everyone is open and willing to use this as a time to let the Lord speak to them personally.  It should be an informational and devotional day,” Harkins said.

“The point of this day is not to change minds or preach the Catholic positions on life, but rather to challenge students to delve deeper into the issue.  We are confident that it will succeed in this mission,” Henninger said.

According to Ball, the positive feedback from students regarding the March is something she has longed to see for a while.  “I was used to hundreds of students attending the March when I was working at Good Counsel High School.  Until this year, I have not found this passion again until coming to JC,” Ball said.

Students seem to accept the in-school Respect Life program, but not necessarily a whole day devoted to it.  “I think the Respect Life Day is a good idea to involve the students who can’t go on the trip in pro-life education. However, I don’t think it should be an all-day event because some students may not have gone because they were uninterested in the topic,” sophomore Brian Matejevich said.

“I think that it would be a good idea if it was not a full day.  As it is, I’m not looking forward to it because I think that seven hours of this is going to be too much.  I would honestly rather have class,” junior Rebecca Driver said.

Students seem to be skeptical regarding what to anticipate.

“[The Respect Life Day] is a good idea, but I think students really don’t know what to expect,” freshman Aidan Ruane said.

Whether students choose to attend the March for Life or not, Jan. 23 will be devoted to the abortion issue.  “We can all be proud that we are taking a day to proclaim that life is sacred from conception until natural death and spread the truth about choosing life,” Yeung said.

“We now have a wonderful platform to deliver the pro-life message the way that we want to do it.  That way is through love and respect, open mindedness yet steadfastness, and in holding a peaceful dialogue about the issue,” Henninger said.

Kailey Tracy is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and