Students' poetry and art honored

Published May 12, 2007

PORT RICHEY - Three students at Bishop Larkin Catholic School in Port Richey have brought national acclaim to their school by expressing their faith through art and poetry.

Family Rosary selected Marcus Girard and Alyssa Bercow as first-place winners for their grade levels in a national competition. Patrick Aitken came in third for his grade level. More than 50, 000 participants submitted entries in the 12th annual contest.

"The contest enables children of all ages to express creatively the importance of Jesus and Mary in their daily lives, " said Father Johan Phalen president of Holy Cross Family Ministries.

Marcus, an 8-year-old second-grader, was selected from more than 3, 000 entrants in his grade level. This year's theme: "There's a Knock on the Door, " inspired Marcus to write a poem.

A portion of his poem: "There's a knock on your door, who could it be? It's Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Trinity. That's right he's not just one, he's three ... He's standing at my door looking at me ... So I'll dedicate my life to do what is right. To spread the word of God's goodness, power and might."

"He's very excited that he won, " said his mother, Toni Fidanzato.

Marcus said he plans on dedicating his life to Jesus when he learns more about the sacraments.

Alyssa's entry was a picture she drew of her, the sun and a tree.

Jesus is speaking from above asking Alyssa to be more religious.

"I'm saying 'I don't think I can do it but if you say I can then I can do it, ' " the 9-year-old third-grader said.

Alyssa's mother, Kelly Bercow, is proud of her daughter's accomplishment.

"I prayed and in a dream an angel come to me and told me I would have a healthy girl, " Bercow said. "She is such a blessing."

Third-place winner for third-graders is Patrick Aitken, 9, the son of Jennifer and John Aitken.

Patrick is an altar boy at Our Lady Queen of Peace in New Port Richey.

"When he was 3, he asked our pastor if he could be a God helper, " said his mother. "He kept asking until he was 8 and could take his first communion."

Patrick drew a picture of his house with Jesus knocking at the door.

Sister Regina Ozuzu, headmaster at the school said she is extremely proud of the students.

"They did this on their own initiative, " she said.

"Now we know seeds are falling on fertile ground. They are receiving what we are teaching them."