Each year, the Right to Life of Michigan Educational Fund recognizes high school prolife students for their work in the movement through our Outstanding Prolife Youth Award. The winners this year are great examples of passionate prolife advocates.
1st Place Winner: Laura Durocher, Grand Traverse Area Right to Life
Laura is a passionate leader in the prolife movement. She has been a member of her school’s Teens for Life club throughout high school, and currently serves as the club’s president. She has participated in many activities promoting the prolife mission including gathering dressers full of donations for the local Pregnancy Care Center, participated in the National Prolife Sidewalk Chalk Day and spread the message during a school-wide Prolife Social Media Day. She has attended Right to Life of Michigan’s Legislative Day, and volunteered with Grand Traverse Right to Life’s Focus on Life Dinner. She has stood against the injustice of abortion through praying outside of Planned Parenthood, participating in Life Chain Sunday events, and attending the March for Life in Washington, D.C. She plans to remain dedicated to the prolife movement as she moves on to college.
From Laura’s essay:
“If it weren’t for a witness from someone close to me who exemplified what it means to be prolife, I know I wouldn’t have become active in the movement. For this reason, I believe that the best way to inspire and promote a positive prolife message is to simply be prolife in absolutely every single thing that we do. As cliché as the age-old saying is, actions really do speak louder than words. No matter our age, status, or ability, as the next generation, we have a duty to defend life and express to others the sacred beauty of it. Whether it be something as simple as being nice to your class who looks lonely, or something as involved as attending the March for life in Washington, promoting a prolife message is all about doing simple, everyday things with a loving prolife heart.”
2nd Place Winner (tied): Joshua Haskell, Grand Rapids Right to Life
Joshua has been a powerful prolife witness in Grand Rapids. He is co-leader of the Students for Life Club at West Catholic High School, where he has helped organize prolife movie nights. He organized weekly visits to pray outside the local Planned Parenthood, and has had over 30 other high school students participate. He has also been a consistent volunteer with HELP Crisis Pregnancy Aid in Grand Rapids. He has attended many different prolife events and demonstrations, including Life Chain, Grand Rapids Right to Life’s Focus on Life dinner, HELP’s benefit dinner, and the national March for Life.
From Joshua’s essay:
“Through our peaceful engagement in prayer, protest, and raising awareness, my generation will not only take ground in this enduring battle, but we will also make it clear to the world what it means to be the good guys. Through our loving smiles and adoption of joy amidst the eye of the hurricane, we will demonstrate that life is beautiful enough to be valued. Through actions driven by hope rather than fear, control rather than anger, and love rather than hate, we will show them what it means to be prolife.”
2nd Place Winner (tied): Evan Bursch, Caledonia-Middleville Right to Life
Evan Bursch is a strong voice for life. He joined his school’s students for life club as a freshman in high school, and has since served as the secretary/treasurer for two years, and is currently the president of the group. He has served the community by organizing baby item drives, blood drives, volunteer opportunities, and outreach events at his school. With the assistance of Protect Life Michigan, he also organized an in-school silent day of protest where students wore duct tape over their mouths for the day and handed out information about why they believe abortion should be illegal. He has also been involved with the Caledonia-Middleville Right to Life affiliate through volunteering and speaking at their sanctity of life prayer service and assisting with their Focus on Life dinner.
From Evan’s essay:
“My generation is getting involved in activism at a younger age… as a high school group, we are able to make an impact on our friends and classmates at an age where they are much more impressionable than even just a few short years later in college. High school is the place where most people form many of their life-long beliefs, and my generation, my group, and I are all working to make abortion unthinkable, without exception.”
3rd Place Winner: Myah Gebhard, Lakes Area Right to Life
Myah is a hard worker for the prolife movement. She spent many hours helping to promote our petiton drive to end dismemberment abortions in 2019, and has also spent time volunteering with her local pregnancy center. She wrote a letter to the editor which was featured in the Detroit News about the prolife message from a young person’s perspective. In her future, she hopes to continue her prolife advocacy by raising awareness about the abortion issue in Taiwan, where there is even higher abortion rates than in the United States.
From Myah’s essay:
“The atmosphere of our Culture has shackled many young people to inaction, paralyzing them with’political correctness’ and ‘tolerance.’ Thus, we must first be willing to be radically counter-cultural by our boldness to speak the truth and expose injustice, and by our courage to stand by that truth even if it is unpopular. Our passion for what is right must be greater than our fear of condemnation.”