During Newman Heritage Month in February, students entered essay, TikTok and visual arts contests for the chance of winning $100 for their works. Final entries were submitted Feb. 18 and judged by members of the Heritage Month committee.
The winners of the three contest categories were recognized during halftime of the homecoming basketball games and presented his or her winning works to the Newman Board of Trustees on Feb. 25.
The essay prompt required writers to address how they live up to the Newman Code, as well as how the code would help one to make an impact in the world.
For Pachta, this wasn’t too hard.
“I just wrote down all my thoughts and then configured it a bit better to flow,” she said. “I’m not one to plan out my essays hardcore, but I definitely re-read and rewrote it a few times adding new some things so it wasn’t just a rough draft.”
In the essay, Pachta wrote how the code and attending Newman affects her and makes her want to strive to be a better person.
She wrote, “While I always strive to be a kind, helpful person all the time, when wearing Newman attire, I focus on being a good advocate for my school.”
Pachta also emphasized how the code has affected her by using examples in her essay.
“I definitely tried to focus on how specifically the code impacted me,” Pachta said. “I just wanted to focus on specific examples rather than broad statements.”
Overall, Pachta believes that the code has influenced her to be a better person not only in her life, but also in the world and at Newman.
“The code is very selfless, I think reading it and absorbing what Newman believes in has helped me become more selfless,” she said. “Not only in personal life, but within the community and also here at Newman.”
The requirements for this category were to create a TikTok video that shows an element of St. John Henry Newman’s or St. Maria De Mattias‘ life or teachings.
Nguyen’s TikTok shows the teachings and rules of St. John Henry Newman.
“Father Mike Schmitz is a successful preacher that utilizes YouTube as a form of reaching people,” Nguyen explained. “So I used the same approach as he did to inform others about the faith and about St. Newman. I picked the theme ‘Newman’s Rules to Perfection,’ because I believe that in our busy lives we forget that a schedule outside of our work and school schedule, as well as a spiritual resting schedule, is important. Since it is crucial to the success of a person as a whole.”
The thought that went into making the TikTok for him was easy and an obvious decision to do so.
“I wanted to make a TikTok because I am very into evangelization and living out your faith authentically, and this seemed like an obvious choice,” Nguyen said.
When making the TikTok, Nguyen already had the vision of what he wanted to create, but he just had to find pictures and figure out how to create it on the app.
“After finding pictures for each of the rules, my little sister who is more familiar with the app helped me put it all together with music in the background,” he said. “Don’t worry, I split the prize money with her.”
He believes that the Newman community does a great job of living up to those teachings and rules.
“As a community, we do a wonderful job at giving everyone, regardless of their background, a place of comfort and love,” Nguyen said. “Whether that be clubs or theater or campus ministry. Everyone has a place they can belong, and because of that we can work to build one another into the people we strive to be for tomorrow.”
Visual Arts Winner
The requirements for the visual arts category were to visually depict, or communicate a way that St. Maria De Mattias encourages one to serve his or her dear neighbor. The winner for this category was junior John Suffield, a visual arts major.
“What first drove me to create the art piece was the competition itself. I always enjoy a good competition, especially when it comes to doing art,” he said.
When planning the piece, he used a method he often does before he draws to get his creativity going.
“I always have to listen to music related to the piece I’m creating to fuel my creativity,” Suffield said. “For this project, I was specifically listening to Gregorian chant by the Sisters of Our Holy Queen.
“I more planned the piece as I was creating it,” he said. “First I made it by starting with my reference images so I can get the proportions right, then I created a sketch from those references. Finally, I added the ink on top and erased the pencil.”
He believes that the Newman community practices St. Maria’s idea of “serving your dear neighbor,” as well as practicing St. Therese of Lisieux’s idea of “The Little Way.”
“I think the way the Newman community practices her way of helping and serving others is done in a much smaller way. Such as a helpful friend staying up late with studying or a good student staying after class to help clean up,” Suffield said. “I also believe the Newman community practices service more within the realm of St. Therese of Lisieux who preaches the saying of ‘The Little Way’ which is where God’s grace is seen through small acts of service.”