High School Essay Competition

2016–2017 CBN-MC High School Scholarship Application

The Catholic Business Network of Montgomery County (“CBN-MC”) is delighted to announce its 16th Annual Catholic High School Scholarship Awards. We invite all eligible individuals to enter an essay for consideration. The rules and procedures are set forth below. All essays must be received or postmarked by December 9, 2016.

CBN-MC will award scholarships to eighth grade students selected for the quality of their essays.  Students must reside in Montgomery County, Maryland and must be entering a Washington Metropolitan Area Catholic High School as a freshman in the fall of 2017. The scholarships are for the student’s freshman year. The awards will be presented at The Scholarship Awards Breakfast to be held on April 7, 2017. All winners, their parents, principals and pastors are invited as our guests at this event. Once attendance at an area Catholic High School is confirmed by the winners in July, 2017, checks will be sent directly to the high school in August, 2017.


To be eligible, students must be entering a Washington Metropolitan Area Catholic High School as a freshman in the fall of 2017.


Students must submit a typewritten essay according to the following. The Essay must be no more than 500 words, typewritten using Times Roman or Courier, minimum 12 point font, double-spaced and must be the student’s own work. The schools may use this as an assignment, but ungraded and unedited essays should be submitted to CBN-MC. PARENTS AND STUDENTS WILL BE ASKED TO SIGN A CERTIFICATION WITH THEIR ESSAY THAT THIS IS THE STUDENT’S OWN WORK PRODUCT. The essay must be well written and will be judged anonymously on style and grammar, clarity of content, innovation and creativity and conformity with topic.

The essay should be submitted in duplicate and have a cover page with the student’s name, address, phone number, email address, and the name of the school or parish, and must be SIGNED by the student AND parent/guardian as follows: “We certify that the attached essay is my own work product that has not otherwise been edited or revised.” The duplicate should be attached to the original but should not have the student’s name on it. It will be assigned a number by CBN-MC and essays will be sent randomly to volunteer judges (non-CBN-MC board members). All essays submitted will become the property of CBN-MC. CBN-MC reserves the right to make all final decisions regarding eligibility and interpretation of the rules. In the event for any reason the winners do not attend an area Catholic High School, the runner up in that category will receive the scholarship.

Essay Topic

The Catholic Church Year of Mercy will conclude on November 20th. In announcing the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said that Jesus “. . . urges each of us never to stop at the surface of things, especially when we have a person before us. We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart in order to see how much generosity everyone is capable of. No one can be excluded from the mercy of God…”

Pope Francis recently tweeted that "mercy does not just mean being a 'good person' nor is it mere sentimentality. Mercy is the measure of our authenticity as disciples of Jesus."

In a 250-500 word essay please address the following questions:

  • In your view, what is mercy?
  • Do you believe mercy is the measure of authenticity as a disciple of Jesus, as Pope Francis tweeted in August? Why or why not?
  • From your own experiences in life or from literature or film, where have you experienced or witnessed "extraordinary" mercy? Who was involved? What were the circumstances? Why did this example of mercy come to mind?

Due Date

All essays must be RECEIVED by CBN-MC, or postmarked, NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 9, 2016. Essays should be delivered by regular mail to the following address:

c/o William P. Cannon, III, Esq.
Offit Kurman, P.A.
4800 Montgomery Lane, 9th Floor
Bethesda, MD 20814

About the CBN-MC High School Scholarship Program

Michael McCartin, Committee Chair

Several years ago, led by the efforts of past CBN-MC President John J. Matteo of Jackson and Campbell, P.C., CBN-MC instituted a scholarship program for rising high school freshmen. That program, which initially offered two $2,500 scholarships to 8th grade students whose essays were unanimously judged to be the best, has grown over the past five years to an annual scholarship program which awards over $15,000 in scholarships each year. In 2013, 14 scholarships were awarded totaling $20,750.

This has been made possible by CBN-MC's Leadership Sponsorship program, created by Rob Smith, Fitzgerald Auto Malls, Bob Green, Photo Communications, Inc., and Paul Zurkowski, Ready Real Estate. The program provides funding for merit scholarships as well as year-round support for CBN-MC activities.

The scholarship luncheon held each year in the mid-winter has become a much-anticipated event at which the winners, their families, Catholic school principals, pastors, teachers, and Archdiocesan staff gather with CBN-MC members and sponsors to celebrate the winning students and Catholic education. All CBN-MC members are encouragted to support the program and help young Catholics and their schools, while building goodwill for their businesses.



File 16-17_cbn-mc_essay_scholarship.docx40.45 KB

About CBN-MC

The Catholic Business Network of Montgomery County, CBN-MC, is an independent, non-profit organization of businesses and individual professionals working together to support Catholic education in Montgomery County Maryland.

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Contact Us

CBN-MC, Inc.
P.O. Box 34549
Bethesda, MD 20827
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