When St. Joseph-Scollard Hall student, Finn Seguin, completed his essay on the importance of religion in his education, he had no idea it would earn him a top spot in an international competition and a scholarship for $1,000 USD.

The Fireside Essay Scholarship Competition is an annual competition put forth by Fireside Catholic Publishing, which sees students from across North America complete essays in hopes of winning one of only a handful of $1,000 scholarships. This year, Seguin submitted his essay along with over 300 Canadian and American students. It was so well received, his essay was named one of the top five, making him the only Canadian to walk away with a scholarship this year.

Seguin says his essay is about how religious education has impacted his life and schooling. “I think some students take Religion Class for granted,” he says. “Religion is about learning how other people work and how beliefs and cultures can make you a better person. It gives you the strength you need to keep trying as hard as you can every day and not give up on yourself,” he says.

Faith-based education celebrates what matters most – inclusivity, diversity, excellence and faith. Seguin’s essay highlights the distinct difference Catholic education makes in the lives of Ontario students.

Religion teacher Allison Brock, says she is thrilled to see Seguin place in the top five. “His essay revealed how his faith and religious education provided him with strength when dealing with life’s struggles,” she says. “Although I am not currently Finn’s teacher, I encouraged him to participate in the contest because I thought he could add a great perspective to the competition. You can tell he really wrote from the heart. I think that is what makes his essay stand out above the rest,” she adds.

Seguin plans to use his scholarship at Carleton University next fall, where he will study Neuroscience and Mental Health.