MADISON — A group of students from Edgewood High School (EHS)were among the tens of thousands who gathered in Washington, D.C., on January 22 for the 36th annual March for Life, reflecting a growing awareness at the school for the need to address the issues of respect for life.
“It’s important for us to be faithful citizens and to advocate for life and fairness,” said Tonya Bubolz, a religious studies teacher at EHS and a moderator of two relatively new activities at the school dedicated towards raising awareness of life issues.
Four of the 11 students at the March for Life this year are also members of one of Bubolz’s life-issues-oriented clubs, Vita Semper. Bubolz also moderates the club LIFT (Life Information for Teens), in which upperclassmen share witness and leadership in educating eighth grade students at Catholic schools in the diocese about moral issues in young people’s lives.
The purpose of Vita Semper, which means “life always” in Latin, is to promote an “appreciation and recognition of the value of human life” through advocacy and charity projects. This year is the second for the club, which was formed using Bubolz’s experience moderating a pro-life club at Bishop McNamara High School in Maryland.
When she had come to Edgewood High School three years ago, Bubolz had noticed that some students weren’t fully educated on the importance of being pro-life, she said.
“I feel very strongly, as a Catholic, we need to be about human life and human dignity across the board,” Bubolz said. “And I feel sometimes these issues get separated.”
There were kids that felt strongly about justice issues and others about life issues, and “you can’t be one or the other if you’re Catholic — you must be both,” she said. “I saw a need for a club that promotes life and justice issues.”
Walking in this year’s March for Life, with thousands of other pro-life groups from around the country, is just one part of the experience of advocacy for life for students in Vita Semper.
The group, which currently stands at 15 students, is active in the community, raising money in their “Baby Bottle Campaign” for CareNet and the Elizabeth House, raising awareness of human rights during Global Solidarity Week, and selling bracelets for “invisible children” to promote an understanding of human trafficking. They have spent time praying in front of the Planned Parenthood Clinic on the east side of Madison during the 40 Days for Life Vigil, and this spring hope to raise enough money to help rent billboard space for Pregnancy Helpline.
The March for Life will help the students practice “using their voice,” Bubolz said. As well, it serves as an example for the greater school community.
“We need to represent our school — we need to stand up for this issue as a school community,” she said.