Scholarship recipient Sarah Ryan reflects on time at National Right to Life Academy

This past summer I had the incredible opportunity, thanks to Texas Right to Life, to be one of the 11 young women from around the country who attended the National Right to Life Academy in Washington, D.C.  The program was 6 weeks long, beginning with the National Right to Life Convention held in Jacksonville, and took place in the National Right to Life office.  A typical day during the Academy consisted of a lecture on a particular Pro-Life topic followed by challenges where we had to articulate that issue in a mock-interview or lobbying session.  It definitely challenged me to find the sources of my information and memorize citations of articles and studies so that I can provide people with credible, accurate, and scientific information.  Guest speakers, including Dr. David Prentice from the Family Research Council, were also integrated into the program.

The Academy was truly a challenging program, but it was rewarding in so many ways.  I thought I had an in-depth knowledge of the Pro-Life movement, including legislation and strategies, but my eyes were really opened, mostly due to one of my new personal heroes: Thomas "Burke" Balch.  Our instructor, Mr. Balch, has been involved in the Pro-Life movement since before abortion was even legalized.  He shared with us so many stories about the history of the movement, and he made me realize what it takes to be Pro-Life: humility, love, and compassion.  Studying in the National Right to Life office every day made me grateful for all of their work and the work of all of the state affiliates.  Another instructor and Pro-Life hero, Roger Stenson, is the former director of Hawaii Right to Life.  He has been helping affiliates all over the United States.  I can hardly express how grateful I was to be surrounded by these brilliant minds as I tried to soak up some of their wisdom.

Overall, this summer has made me more grateful, aware, and hopeful.  I am grateful for all of those whose donations and prayers allowed me to experience this wonderful program.  I feel much more aware of the state of our nation and world after the many lessons I was taught.  I am so hopeful after getting to see the hearts of the people who are fighting for Life in our nation's capitol and for seeing the amazing passion and diligence for Life among the other girls in the Academy.  We are truly in good hands.  I have already shared some of the experiences I had in D.C. and new ideas the Academy gave me with Bobcats for Life, my campus Pro-Life organization.  According to the other girls who attended the Academy and are now like sisters to me, the lessons we learned have already started to bear fruit on their campuses and in their hometowns. 


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