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Highlands Senior Honored for Pro-Life Work
Mary Toates received one of the 7 awards bestowed at the Bishop’s Annual Catholic Pro-Life Dinner, a major diocesan event.

Mary Toates
Mary Toates, a Highlands Senior, received one of the Bishop's Dinner Awards.

Irving, Texas (April 7, 2009) – On March 28th, Mary Toates, a Highlands School senior, was recognized for her pro-life work in the field of education at The Bishop’s 16th Annual Catholic Pro-Life Dinner.

The diocesan event gathered a sold-out ballroom of 2,275 guests and exceeded the fundraising goal for the evening. One of the highlights of the evening was the bestowal of 7 awards on people from the archdiocese who have done outstanding work in the defense of life. The awards included recognition of exemplary pro-life leadership, prayer, education, public witness, civic action, supportive services, and an award for the pro-life person of the year.

Mary Toates won the Bishop´s Pro-Life Award for Education, along with Rebecca Lowery. She was the first teen ever to receive one of the Bishop’s dinner awards.

“I knew it was my calling…”

For four years, Mary has been a both a junior assistant and an officer for Youth for life, [YFL] a ministry of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee. Initially, she became involved with the organization because her older sister, Emily, was also a member.

She recalls, “The winter of my freshman year, the YFL director, Jacquelyn Smith, hosted SCAT night (side-walk-counseling all night training) at my house, so I was sort of obligated to go. It was definitely the Lord’s will that I be there. The next morning, we went to Fairmount Abortion clinic and helped change the mind of a fifteen-year-old girl who was about to get an abortion.  When I saw how happy this girl was with choosing life, I knew it was my calling to put that look on more women’s faces.”

Mary is passionately involved in the movement to save the lives of the innocent.  In addition to her participation in the March for Life in both Austin and Washington, she helped organize the Roe Memorial Girls Retreat in 2007.  For the past three years, she has worked at the Bishop’s Dinner and attended a Pro- Life Boot Camp, and she has been a prayerful presence at the abortion centers as well. Currently, she is a counselor at the White Rose Women’s Center. At the Highlands School, she regularly gives presentations to her classmates. 

One of five children, Mary has attended The Highlands School since her freshman year and is a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.  She plans to attend Benedictine College in the fall and study theology and youth ministry. 

With regard to her involvement with Youth for Life, Mary says, “I think it is a very important organization, because having youth voices in the pro-life movement makes a huge impact.  Particularly, teens should feel empowered to participate because of the price their generation is paying for this holocaust.”

About The Highlands School

Established in 1986, The Highlands School is a Catholic college-preparatory school.  Offering grades Pre-K through 12th, the mission of The Highlands School is the development of the whole person through Integral Formation, consisting of a profound intellectual, human, apostolic, and spiritual formation.  Personalized attention from faculty, staff, and religious provides each student with the maximum opportunity for growth.



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