SJN student wins state essay contest

St. John Neumann Catholic School eighth-grader Paul Liulevicus was surprised, not expecting to win the state Knights of Columbus essay contest.

However, he received the news Wednesday, Feb. 13 he was the state of Tennessee winner, and his essay is going on to the national level.

“I’m excited,” said Paul, son of Kathleen and Vejas Liulevicus. “It was an honor to win.”

The school-wide contest took place in December, when Paul won at the school level.

“Then the Knights of Columbus sent it on to the next competition,” said Mary Marlow, SJN interim director of development.

“I’m really excited for him,” Marlow added. “I think it’s a great honor for him.”

“Paul is a remarkable student, and (the award) speaks to his achievements,” said Michele Tarricone, Paul’s teacher. “I’m very proud of him.”

“Paul has a thirst for learning. His winning this writing contest serves as an example to other students that sometimes hard work pays off. I’m very proud of Paul.” she added.

Students had a week to write the essay. Paul said the Knights of Columbus gave students the topic, “How my family keeps its Catholic faith in action.”

“We had to create the essay in a creative way,” he said. “So I decided I would use an angel named Josiah, who writes down reports and takes it back up to Him after a week.

“I just wrote about how my family keeps the Catholic faith by going to church every week, and we donate food and clothes to the Ladies of Charity,” Paul added.

“My teachers and the sisters here have taught me how to know my faith deeper by the sacraments, like Reconciliation, Communion and Confirmation.”

“He takes after his father,” Father Joe Reed, SJN Catholic Church pastor, said about Paul.

The eighth-grader’s father, who is director for the University of Tennessee Center of the Study of War in Society, has written at least two books on World War I, one published by Cambridge University Press and the other by Oxford University Press.