Nearly five dozen Knoxville Catholic High School students took their faith on the road and attended the national March for Life Saturday, Jan. 19, in Washington, D.C.
In all, 57 students, along with faculty moderator Danielle Sanok, Father Michael Hendershott, Sister John Catherine, Sister Mara Rose and Diocese of Knoxville seminarian Wojtek Sobczur made the trip, which has been an annual event for many years.
Most students already are members of the school’s “Irish Fightin’ for Life” club, which “believes in the beauty of each person and the value of life from conception to death,” Sanok said.
The March was the Washington trip’s main event, but students also attended the Pro-Life Rally prior to the March and visited the St. Pope John Paul II Shrine, where Hendershott celebrated Mass with schools and students from across the country, among other related activities.
“Students were constantly immersed with hundreds of thousands of people who also believe in the pro-life mission,” Sanok said.
While other marches took place that weekend, including the Women’s March, KCHS students and representatives stayed the course.
“The whole movement is something I really believe in because everyone’s life is important, no matter who it is,” Desiree Ruiz said. “Overall, it was an amazing experience because everyone that was there stuck together in our beliefs, even when there were people who didn’t agree with us.”
“It was amazing to see probably a half-million people all there marching for something outside of themselves,” said Michael Stapleton, who was attending his first March.
“It’s what I believe in, and it’s my faith,” Emma Kollie said. “It was powerful and I learned that there’s a lot more to it than everyone thinks.”
“This was my second year on the trip, and after last
year I didn’t think I could support this cause more than I already did, but I was wrong,” Madison Kelley said. “The March is eye-opening; it shows just how many other people there are that not only believe in this cause, but who are
willing to stand out in the cold and mud to support what they believe.”
The event was Sanok’s third with KCHS, and she said “every year, I am inspired by not only what I see and hear at the pro-life rally and March, but, most importantly, I am inspired by how the lives of my students are forever changed for the better.
“The joy that radiates from each of them proves to me that this is a movement worth believing in. Students come back every year with new ideas … to help foster the idea that every life is unique and valuable here on earth,” he added.