Eighteen Catholic elementary school students from grades kindergarten through eighth grade in deanery 6 will be treated to a pizza party this month for being winners in the first annual vocations contest organized by Father Mike Perucho, associate pastor at Holy Family parish in Glendale.Students from five participating schools - St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Bernard in Los Angeles; St. James the Less, La Crescenta; Holy Family, Glendale; and Holy Redeemer, Montrose — either created artwork or used their writing skills to communicate the importance of vocations to the priesthood or religious life.“It was a great way to promote vocations to religious life and to continue to encourage others about the need for vocations and remind them about their important role in praying for them and possibly answering the call,” said Father Perucho.“I learned that it’s very important to have priests and sisters because you need them in the world and they represent Christ as well and they help us to go to Christ in the end,” said Holy Family (Glendale) student Margarette Bailon, the eighth grade female contest award winner. A boy and a girl from each grade level were selected for their winning entries, including artwork for the primary grades and essays/poetry for the middle grades.In his winning essay, eighth grader, Darren Kim, from Holy Redeemer in Montrose called priesthood an “endangered vocation,” noting that the number of priests in the U.S. has dropped from 59,000 in 1975 to 41,500 last year. “A world without priests would be a dreary place with no spiritual guidance or morality. This is why we must save the endangered vocation of a priest,” wrote Kim.In his winning poem, “Christian Vocations,” Anton Reyes, a fifth grader at St. Bernard in Los Angeles praised the vocations of all those in ministry:They all serve God in different ways,But for their work they should be praised,They live their life in service of God,Even when some people might think it odd.They pray, they teach, they spread the Word,To places whose names some might have never heard.There they care for the poor and bring joy to all,And that’s how they respond to God’s call.All the nuns, brothers and the religious education teachers,All the priests, deacons, lay ministers and preachers,They work hard and all do important things,But they receive the reward that a life in service of God brings.Contest winners included: Kindergarten — Sebastian Brown, St. James the Less and Laila Castro, St. Ignatius of Loyola; 1st grade — Leila Solis, St. Ignatius of Loyola and Cassius Tolentino, St. Ignatius of Loyola; 2nd grade — Luis Ramirez, Holy Family and Genevieve Montenegro, St. Ignatius of Loyola; 3rd grade — Jacob Orial, Holy Family and Sarah Delgadillo, St. Ignatius of Loyola; 4th grade — Edzel Fortin, Holy Family and Melissa Shun, Holy Family; 5th grade — Anton Reyes, St. Bernard and Alexis Mitchell, St. Ignatius of Loyola; 6th grade — Samantha Teves, St. Ignatius of Loyola and Joshua Moran, St. Bernard; 7th grade — Michael Aguilar, St. Ignatius of Loyola and Sabrina Macy, Holy Redeemer; 8th grade — Darren Kim, Holy Redeemer and Margarette Bailon, Holy Family.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0412/sfholyfamily/{/gallery}