Catholic Textbook Project announced Delaney McCartney from Gilbert as one of four winners in the publishing company’s first, but highly sought after, history essay contest.

Students in grades 5-8 submitted more than 2,000 entries into one of four categories featuring homeschool and Catholic school divisions for a pair of grade levels. McCartney won in the grade 7/8 Catholic Homeschool Division for an essay about Queen Isabel of Spain, who was a strong ruler and helped Christopher Columbus pursue his dream of exploration.

Catholic Textbook Project publishes history and social studies textbooks. Its inaugural contest challenged students to choose a Catholic historical character and describe how that person influenced the times in which he or she lived.

“We received an overwhelming response to this history essay contest; far more than we expected,” Glen Mueller, chairman of Catholic Textbook Project, said in a press release. “It was wonderful to see, especially since many of the submissions were of such exceptional quality that our judges did not find it an easy task to pick the best essays.”

Winners earned $100. Students at Catholic schools also won a $400 gift certificate for Catholic Textbook Project material for their classroom. Homeschool students won a free textbook.


Read the winning essays

Catholic Textbook Project will be posting the winners on its blog in the coming weeks


Both grade 5/6 winners are from Wisconsin. Zoe Wenholz won in the homeschool division for her essay about St. Isaac Jogues who planted the seeds of faith for Native Americans. Thomas Lyon won in the Catholic school division for his piece on Frederic Ozanam, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Kendal Rowan from New Orleans won in the grade 7/8 Catholic school division. Her essay profiled St. Katherine Drexel who used her inheritance to establish schools and universities for Native and African Americans across the country. Many are still in operation today.

“Students, teachers and schools should all be commended on the broad range of entries, the quality of writing, and the insight into how faith burned in the hearts of so many men in women of history, to the point that it compelled them to act heroically in the face of poverty, ridicule and persecution, said Katherine Zehnder, who organized the contest. “From Vince Lombardi to St. Paul, we enjoyed the vast presentation of noble souls whose Catholic faith determined their actions.”