The following essay was a second-place winner in our Second Annual Scholarship Contest. It was written by Kieran Hogan, a high school senior from Pensylvania. Kieran was among 450 applicants from 44 states who wrote about a personal prayer experience and how that experience impacted their thoughts about our national tragedy of school shootings. He will be using his scholarship at the University of Vermont. This essay has been slightly edited for punctuation and space considerations.
Since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, one year before I was born, we, as a nation, have slowly come to accept and normalize this unacceptable behavior. Is anyone really shocked when they read about the latest attack in the newspaper?
Do you scan Exits, like I do in a public assembly, in case you might just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time? I do not have the perfect solution to this nightmare, but I think that if the young men who are, by and large, the biggest offenders, felt more connected to their community, and had a positive outlet for anger, these senseless killings would diminish. This problem is multifaceted but I truly believe the power of prayer, and a connection to God and community is as good a place as any to start to dismantle this crisis. I believe my own experience in finding God and prayer in my everyday life has given me peace, connection, and purpose, and that this is possible for anyone who wants it. They just need to look.Read More