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Cabrini teen wins Right to Life contest

Cabrini sophomore Elasha Carey-Rand put her thoughts about being pro-life to pen and paper and then produced a video that placed first in the recent New Orleans’ chapter of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation’s “Life is Priceless” Poster and Video Contest. She was the overall video division winner and earned $100.

“We were so excited and proud when she was chosen the winner,” said Maria Bienes, her Cabrini religion teacher and Pro-life Club moderator, who also was awarded $50. Bienes had invited all of her students to enter the second annual contest open to fifth through 12th graders.

Out of several themes, Elasha, 15, chose “Life is Priceless.” She said she was inspired to write her poem by a quote she discovered on the Internet: “Life offers no guarantees, but abortion offers no chances.”

Another impetus came during a monthly Pro-life Club meeting when she saw in a textbook the reality of the abortion procedure, she said.

Pro-life club members at Cabrini promote life in various ways – marching near the health care clinic that performs abortions in Metairie and selling pro-life sweatshirts and T-shirts. Cabrini teachers also travel with students to the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., and the school celebrates an annual pro-life Mass. (This year it was celebrated on Jan. 12 by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.)

“Cabrini has taught me, as a female, to value my life, my value, my worth and my purpose,” Elasha said.

“We try to reach out and show respect and dignity for all life,” Bienes said. “Cabrini’s core values are ‘Respect, Excellence and Service.’ We teach our girls to be women of substance.”

The winning video
Elasha said it took about three weeks to complete the video. She spent the majority of her time ensuring that the voice-over she narrated of her 11-verse poem was to her liking.

She used an App called SonicPic to combine the voice-over, images and words. She touched on the Fifth Commandment (“Thou Shalt Not Kill”), “Speak for the Weak”; “I Am Worth Fighting For”; and statistics that highlighted the more than 45 million children who have been aborted since the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion in the United States.

“The reason I entered (the contest) is I feel like I am pro-life,” Elasha said. “My mom was so young when she had me, and she chose life over death. Instead of an abortion or adoption, she chose to take this route – that God put me in her life for a reason.”

Elasha hopes that when pro-choice people see her video, it will change their minds about abortion. She is one of nine children.

New Orleans Right to Life regional coordinator Shanon Snyder said there were submissions from eight high schools. They were judged on presentation, artistic merit and focus by Snyder, the New Orleans Right to Life project director; Susan deBoisblanc, a Jesuit High School instructor; and Ricky Mikalski, a New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary graduate student.

Elasha’s project stood out among others because it was very well done.

“She concentrated on mixing spoken-word poetry, videos and right-to-life issues in a creative and cohesive way,” Snyder said.

Other winners of the contest were  Ahn Dao, St. Cletus School (first place, poster) and Myla Joseph of Ascension of Our Lord School (second-place, poster).

Elasha’s video and Ahn’s poster can be found on the Louisiana Right to Life website – – under Youth-College, Louisiana Poster and Video Contests and then click the  New Orleans-area contest page link. 2014 winners are also highlighted.

The 2016 New Orleans-area Poster and Video Contest will be held Oct. 1-31.

The 2016 Louisiana Life March South in Baton Rouge is  Jan. 23 from 10 a.m.-noon from the Old State Capitol to the new state capitol downtown. It includes the march for life, music, prayer and presentations. Call 1 (866) 463-5433 for details.

Christine Bordelon can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Life is Priceless
In my day
People say
It’s okay
For this cliché

I say
This is a disarray
that shouldn’t be wasted away

The optics
Of this topic
Cause depression
Leading to unreasonable

God gave us eyes
To be wise;
Our sight
To do right

So I despise
That women compromise
To satisfy themselves
To receive the simplicities in life
that may ultimately cause strife

Because of some unwise
They will have to face some inquisition
With the Lord
That they believe they cannot afford
To be on one accord

They think they’ve made a mistake
Figure ... life’s at stake
To put God in the fixture
Might paint another picture

The fifth commandment states
Thou shall not kill
Yet they give you a pill
Creating this frill

With an expectation of closure
But leads to some sort of
This happens way too often
Putting an innocent soul in a coffin

The frequency of abortion
Shouldn’t be a decency of extortion
But should be illegal
Because this act is evil

It’s killing off the next
Leaving us with no exaltation
We need to defend
Those who have no chance
And put an end to this
    unconscious circumstance         
         – Elasha Carey-Rand

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