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2006 Diocese Youth Spiritual Competition

Another Year of Success and Blessings for the Diocese Youth Spiritual Competition

Over 500 students, ranging from junior high to college age, competed at this year’s diocese-wide Youth Spiritual Competition, held August 19 at Saint John Coptic Orthodox Church.  Saint John Church (Covina) took home first place for the college competition, Saint Mark Church (Los Angeles) won for high school, and Saint George Church (Bellflower) earned first place at the junior high level. 

Third place spots went to Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church (Santa Monica) for college, Saint George Church, Bellflower (Team A) for high school, and Saint George Church, Bellflower (Team B) for junior high. Winning second place in the college category was Saint Marina Church (Irvine).  Archangel Michael Church (Santa Ana) took the second place spot for high school while Saint Maurice Church (Team A) earned second place for the junior high category. 

In addition to the team competitions, this year’s event included an individual contest which inaugurated the use of online testing that was held prior to the competition date, unlike previous years where a written test was held the day of the event.

The first place title for the individual college-level competition was shared between four competitors who each earned 53 points out of a possible 60. They were Jennifer Yanni (Saint Marina Church), Diana Gharbawy (Saint Athanasius Church), Samuel Gabriel (Saint Mark Church), and Mina Ragheb (Saint Mark Church). 

Those who earned first place in the high school level individual competition scored 51 out of a possible 55 points.  The winners were Mariett Younan (Archangel Michael Church), Camelia Soliman (Saint Mark Church) and Joseph Elmasri (Saint Marina Church). Junior high winners in the individual competition scored 47 out of 50. First place went to Mira Mikhail (Saint George Church), Maryna Agaibi (Saint Mark Church), and Joy Tawadros (Saint George Church)*.

His Grace Bishop Serapion addressed the competition-goers – comprised of 19 participating churches – as they awaited the announcement of the winners.  “The number of churches [participating] is growing, and the number of youth is growing,” says His Grace. “This is a blessing.”

His Grace also revealed some insight as to how the competition may change next year. “There is a suggestion to invite the elementary [ages] to the competition,” he stated.

According to His Grace, the annual event is intended to offer an opportunity for youth to develop a comprehensive spiritual education through healthy competition, citing learning the hymns as an example.  “If you’re in junior high, by the time you graduate college, and you continue with the spiritual competition, you cover all the hymns.”

At the end of the day, each competitor was a winner. His Grace congratulated each participant with a magnet of the icon of Saint Serapion and with many blessings.  “All participants are real winners because they all studied hard during the summer and benefited spiritually.”

*A full list of the winners is provided below.

College Group
1st place: Saint John Church
2nd place: Saint Marina Church
3rd place: Saint Peter/Saint Paul Church

College Individual
1st place: Jennifer Yanni (Saint Marina Church), Diana Gharbawy (Saint Athanasius Church), Samuel Gabriel (Saint Mark Church), Mina Ragheb (Saint Mark Church)
2nd place: Heba Khalil (Saint Mark Church), George Kerolos (Saint Mark Church)
3rd place: Mary Samy (Saint Mary Magdalene Church), Antonious Sadek (Saint Mark Church)

High School Group
1st place:  Saint Mark Church
2nd place: Archangel Michael Church (Santa Ana)
3rd place: Saint George Church (Bellflower) – Team B

High School Individual
1st place:  Mariett Younan (Archangel Michael Church- Santa Ana), Camelia Soliman (Saint Mark Church), Joseph Elmasri (Saint Marina Church)
2nd place: Lauren Gharbawy (Saint Mark Church), Angelo Mishriki (Saint Mark Church), Maryamm Mina (Saint Mark Church), John Faheem (Saint Maurice Church)
3rd place: Monica Azer (Saint Mark Church), Christian Barsoum (Saint Mark Church)

Junior High Group
1st place:  Saint George Church, Bellflower – Team A
2nd place: Saint Maurice Church, Pomona – Team A
3rd place: Saint George Church, Bellflower – Team B

Junior High Individual
1st place:  Mira Mikhail (Saint George Church), Maryna Agaibi (Saint Mark Church), Joy Tawadros (Saint George Church)
2nd place: Mariam Samy (Saint Mary Magdalene Church), Michael Samy (Saint Mary Magdalene Church), Antony Ibrahim (Archangel Michael Church– Santa Ana)
3rd place:  Heidi Messiha (Saint Marina Church)

Posted by Fr. Moses Samaan

April 9, 2009