SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Aidan Reidy had a week he will never forget.

On Wednesday, the freshman at Union Catholic was notified that he finished as the runner-up in the very prestigious Seton Hall University Catholic Studies Essay Contest: “How Does Memory Inspire and Empower You to Promote Peace?”

Then on Thursday, Reidy was recognized for his academic excellence during the third marking period when he was honored along with several other UC students during the UC's virtual Honor Roll Breakfast Ceremony.         

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For finishing as the runner-up in the essay contest, Reidy will receive a $150 gift card, and his essay will be published in Arcadia: The Catholic Studies Student Scholarly Journal, which is indexed in the libraries of Colleges and Universities across the United States. Reidy and his family were also cordially invited to the Catholic Studies’ year-end Awards Celebration to be held at Seton Hall University on April 30, 2020 on ZOOM. 

Reidy and many other UC students wrote their essays in Mrs. Michele Donegan’s Freshman Writing class. He was surprised and thrilled when he learned how well he did in the essay contest.

“I was really shocked and surprised that I ended up being the runner-up,’’ said Reidy. “It means a lot to me because I proved to myself that I am capable of doing anything as long as I put my mind to it.’’

Mrs. Donegan was very excited about Reidy’s achievement. 

“I am so very proud of Aidan and his accomplishments in writing all around,’’ said Mrs. Donegan. “I'm grateful for the opportunity he was given to demonstrate his wonderful writing skills.’’

Reidy credits Mrs. Donegan for sharpening his writing skills.

“Mrs. Donegan has helped me build my inner thinking and improved my overall ability to find mistakes within my writing,’’ said Reidy, a member of the cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams at UC. “She has also encouraged me to talk about more personal topics and expanded my vocabulary to help send a better message. I enjoy writing in my class and whenever I have an assignment that requires me to do so. The best part about writing it letting my imagination go wild.’’

Reidy, who has flourished inside and outside the classroom during his memorable freshman year at UC, said he loves being a student at Union Catholic.

“The thing that I enjoy the most about UC is its overall diversity and the ability to find and make new friends that will be there for you all the time,’’ said Reidy. “The thing that I love the most about the school is the overall positive emotions and feelings it brings everybody. The emotion of happiness, and the constant feeling of being welcomed by everybody is the best thing that you could ever have.’’

Union Catholic (1600 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains) prepares a diverse student body to fulfill their college and career goals by cultivating the students' achievement of academic standards of excellence within a value-centered environment, strong in its commitment to our core values (respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion, and community), and to the establishment of a community of faith and love in the Catholic tradition. For more information, call (908) 889-1600 or visit