Chances are, most of us have contributed to the pro-life cause here at McNick, whether it was through grabbing a free cupcake at lunch this past October or stopping to contemplate the 4,000 white crosses that stood upon the lawn at GA in November. But these displays and many more don’t just appear overnight. They are the work of dedicated individuals who give their time and effort in support of a noble cause.
Led under the direction of Spanish teacher Tracy Canisalez, the Rockets for Life are McNick’s own pro-life organization, and they work with a single goal in mind: to defend the dignity of human life, from conception to natural death.
During the 2013-2014 school year alone, the Rockets for Life have sponsored at least 20 different activities, ranging from the autumn “40 Days for Life Campaign” to a baby shower that provided essential materials for expectant mothers in need. And it’s hard to forget October’s “Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity,” the day that dozens of McNicholas students refrained from speech so they could be in solidarity with the millions of children who cannot speak for themselves.
“I am so proud of the students in the club and all their devotion to the pro-life cause,” Canisalez said. “I feel they have done a wonderful job of promoting a culture of life at McNicholas and in our community.”
Perhaps the most well-known of the club’s activities is the annual trip to the March for Life in Washington D.C., where students walk alongside pro-life supporters from across the country as they participate in one of America’s most famous rallies. Despite the Archdiocese’s decision to cancel bus service to this year’s March, members of the club have worked unceasingly to remind the community that their efforts go far beyond the yearly trip.
Juniors Michelle Rowekamp, Maggie Sheehan, and Emma McDermott are just three of the students who have shown unparalleled devotion to their cause. Each week, the trio gathers in front of the local Planned Parenthood clinic, where they pray the rosary with the intention of putting an end to abortion. Every day, organizations like Planned Parenthood perform over 4,000 surgical abortions – a number that that these students hope to change.
“I give my time to a pro-life cause because I believe that life starts at conception and ends at natural death,” Rowekamp said. “Planned Parenthood kills thousands of babies around the world, and I, along with many others, feel the need to stand up for these babies who do not have a voice.”
Even more recently, Rockets for Life President Madison Hartwell has begun the process of networking with other local pro-life groups such as the Students for Life Club at Xavier University, with the hope that collaborative efforts might be taken to bring student activists together. And in December, junior Lilly Deller started “Crochet for a Cause,” inviting students to create hand-made baby blankets, which were then donated to Pregnancy Center East.
“I think we’re so passionate about what we do because we strongly believe in what we think is right,” junior Meghan Baker said.
‘Passionate’ is certainly a word that fits in describing the attitude that has been instilled amongst McNick’s pro-life crusaders. With at least eight more activities planned for the upcoming spring season, Canisalez has found that when students work together for a cause, they can make a world of a difference in the community, and in the lives of countless others.
“It’s impossible to know how many minds and hearts the students have changed or how many lives they have saved,” Canisalez said. “These students are making a very positive difference in our community.”