Donating feminine products to homeless women, creating handmade products from recycled plastic, aiding workers in the seafood industry, and providing more resources to the homeless are just a few of the ideas students came up with while working on the school-wide Design Cycle Challenge. Taking the Catholic Social Teachings to heart, students researched local problems and brainstormed ways to help.


Congratulations to the following groups:

Best Overall - 10th Grade
Best Presentation - 8th Grade
Most Unique - 11th Grade

Thank you to our judges: Shelley Brown, David Bernard, and Gloria Doran!

As part of the annual Mount Carmel Academy school-wide Design Cycle Challenge, homerooms across all grade levels addressed problems facing our city with creative and unique solutions. The solutions had two main requirements: They had to be rooted in the Catholic Social Teachings and focused on the local level. 


Homerooms began by reviewing the seven Catholic Social Teachings and discussing how they apply in our world today. They searched through local and state news outlets for problems in our city that relate to one of the teachings. After each homeroom established which Catholic Social Teaching would be their focus, students identified a specific area of concern within our community and researched what is being done already on the local, state, and national levels in both civic and governmental organizations. They brainstormed ideas, decided on a solution, and established a scope of work to help with the problem, including planning ways to fundraise and determining the most effective ways to share their message with the community. 


With their plans completed, students worked on creating a presentation. Each homeroom developed a one-minute elevator pitch identifying their problem and explaining their solution. They shared their pitches with their grade level, and students voted for their top choices. The groups with the most votes will represent their respective classes in the final competition on February 20, 2020. The entire student body, along with a panel of guest judges, will listen to the pitches from each grade level. Winners will be chosen in three categories: Best Overall, Best Presentation, and Most Unique.


Catholic Social Teachings

1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person

2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation

3. Protection of Human Rights and Responsibilities

4. The Poor and Vulnerable: Put their needs first

5. Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

6. Solidarity: Promoting peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict

7. Care for God’s Creation: All of His creations of the earth and the sea


The Finalists

8th Grade: Plastic Repurposing Plastic Waste into Items for Resale

Catholic Social Teaching: Care for God’s Creation: All of His creations of the earth and the sea

In their own words:

“We will salvage and recycle plastics from the Greater New Orleans area and to prevent these harmful, malleable materials from polluting our local seafood, which comes from the Gulf of Mexico. We would put our organization’s personally owned recycle bins around the city. Members of ourganization, No Plastic for My Plate (NPFMP), would collect these recycled materials twice a week. With these recyclable bins, we create products to be sold for prices under $12. A large portion of our profit is donated to multiple charities that focus their efforts on ocean cleanup. Our hope is to one day have our own non-profit organization that seeks to protect humans, wildlife, and marine life from the harms of microplastics and other malleable materials. By reusing these plastics and recyclable materials to be sold as handmade products, we attempt to protect the seafood-eating citizens of the Greater New Orleans area from consuming dangerous inedible toxic trash.”

Freshmen: Feminine Products for Homeless Women

Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person

In their own words:

“As young women, we are particularly concerned about the struggles that homeless women in our city face due to limited access to feminine products. In order to combat this problem, we would organize feminine product drives at Mount Carmel at various points in the school year. We plan to encourage students to donate by awarding a dress down pass to students who bring in a box of feminine products. Once the donations have been collected, we will distribute the products to local homeless shelters and food banks. After establishing feminine product drives at MCA, we would like to invite other local girls' schools to participate so that they would be able to help more women and eventually solve this problem in our community.”

Sophomores: Feminine Products for Homeless Women

Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person

In their own words:

“Our chosen social issue was access to menstrual products for women experiencing homelessness. When faced with a choice between buying basic necessities like food or buying menstrual products, women who are homeless often have to go without sanitary products, leaving them to come up with solutions that may not be safe or sanitary. Our chosen theme of Catholic Social Teaching is "The dignity of the human person," and we believe that having access to menstrual products is important to uphold the basic human dignity of all women. Our idea is to install sanitation stations that look similar to the little free libraries that are stationed throughout the city. Similar to the free libraries, these stations would be a place for people to both donate and take products as needed. To help ensure these stations remain filled, we hope to partner with local female-owned businesses to create special events throughout the year where people could receive an in-store discount in exchange for bringing in sanitary products to donate. We hope that these events will both keep our sanitation stations filled and help bring business to local, female small-business owners.”


Juniors: Aid for Louisiana Oyster Crisis

Catholic Social Teaching: Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers & All of His creations of the earth and the sea

In their own words:

“We are tackling the Catholic Social Teaching of workers' rights by addressing an issue many are unaware of: The Louisiana Oyster Crisis. Due to the prolonged openings of the Bonnet-Carré Spillway, the Louisiana Gulf's salt levels have been plummeting, killing off a whole generation of oysters. This has led to job insecurity and a major hit to the Louisiana seafood industry. We plan to solve this problem in three ways: first, a hashtag to spread awareness; second, a social media page for people to donate; and third, funding education and reparations for oyster farmers during this rocky transition period. Together, we can save Louisiana's oyster industry!”

Seniors: Helping the Homeless in New Orleans

Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person

In their own words:

"Helping Hands for the Homeless would be a non-profit that would work in tandem with the Archdiocese of New Orleans to provide more resources for people experiencing homelessness. We would raise money through the Archdiocese, hold food drives, host job fairs, and deliver food and supplies. With help from the Archbishop, we would be able to work with the Church of New Orleans to provide more support for these people.”




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