Diocesan News

St. Joseph Art Contest Winners Drawn From 827 Entries, Take Home Cash Prizes

Father Christopher Heanu with 2nd place Art Contest winner Madison Summerville of St. Sebastian Catholic Academy.

DYKER HEIGHTS — A record number of entries and the most cash prizes ever awarded converged on March 16 with the announcement of winners in the 2023 youth spring art contest co-sponsored by The Tablet.

The newspaper joined the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph and the Archbishop John Hughes Council of the Knights of Columbus to hold the contest for youth in the Diocese of Brooklyn. This year had the theme — “St. Joseph: Fatherhood.”

“By sheer numbers alone, far and wide, it’s the biggest contest we’ve had,” said Dustin Etheridge, manager of digital content and creative services for DeSales Media Group, the ministry that produces The Tablet.

The contest, which began in mid-February, was open to all school students in the diocese from first through 12th grades. Judges had 827 submissions to evaluate and were categorized into two groups: first through eighth grades and high school.

Father Christopher Heanue, the rector of the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, conceived the idea to host the art contest while the church is preparing for an installation of a statue honoring its namesake. He added that the artwork might help inform the final product of the sculpture.

“I was so excited to try to release some ideas for the co-cathedral in terms of trying to use the creative talent of our students from our Catholic schools,” Father Heanue said during the awards ceremony at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Dyker Heights.

Etheridge said the contest had first, second, and third-place winners in both categories. The students at the ceremony knew they’d placed in the competition. However, they only knew which prizes they won when announced.

The top three winners in each category received, respectively, $500, $300, and $100. Additionally, the Knights of Columbus gave $500 to the school with the most entries — Our Lady of Mercy, Forest Hills.

“I’m just super honored,” exclaimed Eleni Kougiemitros, a 10th grader from St. Francis Prep, who won first place in the high school division. “It’s so crazy that I won!”

Madison Summerville, an eighth grader from St. Sebastian Catholic Academy, won second place in the first- to eighth-grade category.

“I had only one day to complete that,” she said. “And it took me 4-5 hours to do.”

Leah Struss, a second grader from Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy, was the youngest winner with third place in the grade-school category. 

“I just really thank my parents for supporting me because if nobody supported me, I wouldn’t feel like I was good enough,” she said.

Etheridge said the cash prizes no doubt fueled the massive participation, but the contest was well-publicized, and believes the contest theme also had a unique draw.

“I think that the Fatherhood of St. Joseph — St. Joseph, as the earthly father of Jesus — is something that any child can relate to,” Etheridge said.

The winners are:


1st place: $500

Mikaela Pereira, 6th grade

St. Joseph Academy, Astoria

2nd place: $300

Madison Summerville, 8th grade

St. Sebastian Catholic Academy, Woodside

3rd place: $100

Leah Struss, 2nd grade

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy, Forest Hills

Honorable Mention: $50

Ella Mangels, 4th grade

St. Bernadette Catholic Academy, Dyker Heights


1st place: $500

Eleni Kougiemitros, 10th grade

St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows

2nd place: $300

Seunghwa Woo, 12th grade

St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows

3rd place: $100

Sze Yu Queemy Yiu, 11th grade

Christ the King, Middle Village


$500 from the Knights of Columbus

Our Lady of Mercy, Forest Hills