The Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association is embracing online media to boost student participation and awareness of Catholic education.
The ACSTA is in the midst of hosting a youth video competition, with the aim of highlighting how faith-filled education has made positive impressions on students’ lives. It is the first time the association has organized such an event.
The new competition is geared towards youth between 12 and 19-years-old, attending publically-funded Catholic schools in Alberta or the North West Territories. The organization’s website notes that sharing a video is an opportunity to show the world how Catholic school experience has made a positive difference for students.
Participants created a two-minute video, which highlights distinctive ways Catholic education has helped or inspired them in their educational and faith journey.
Mary Pinkoski, ACSTA communications specialist, said the youth video competition is meant as a way to get Catholic students creatively thinking about their education and faith.
“Our goal in doing this was so that we could engage students in thinking about what it means to be in a Catholic school for them and their peers,” she said. “We hope that in using student videos, we can highlight these positive messages and videos of Catholic schools around the province – and the best part is that it is in the students’ own voices. I think that this makes the message authentic, honest and very valuable.”
The video competition is part of an ACSTA project called GRACE – God’s Riches Alive in Catholic Education. GRACE is meant to explore the power of Catholic schools, according to the ACSTA website.
Pinkoski said the competition garnered more participants than expected, with more than 40 entries submitted from the association’s member boards across the province.
ACSTA president, Tony Sykora, said the organization is encouraged by the response to the GRACE project.
“Our Catholic schools are vibrant and discernible in the lives of our students and their stories of faith,” Sykora said. “We look forward to sharing with pride these videos with all members of our Catholic education community in Alberta and Northwest Territories. We hope this is a project we can continue in the future.”
Pinkoski added that the video competition outline was one that the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association employed during its campaign this spring. The ACSTA videos are currently being reviewed and judged by its communications and advocacy committee with the top three winners being determined by mid-June. Once the winners are chosen, the videos will be showcased on the ACSTA website and sent to the organization’s stakeholders.
“We are extremely excited at the positive response from students across the province and delighted that participation in the project got them thinking about and demonstrating the importance of their Catholic education to their lives and the lives of others in their school community,” said Pinkoski.