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Robin Huebner, Published January 29 2013

Robin Huebner Reports: Fargo Shanley student group wins pro-life award in D.C.

FARGO - Students from Fargo Shanley High School took home a national award over the weekend recognizing their pro-life work on campus and in the community.

Shanley Teens for Life was named High School Group of the Year at the Students for Life of America national conference Saturday in Washington, D.C.

The conference was part of the March for Life rally on Friday following the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.

“It’s a tremendous gift for them to be recognized,” said Jeanine Bitzan of Moorhead, who nominated Shanley for the award and was one of the key planners of the trip.

“It’s a year-round effort that comes from the hearts, minds and souls of these students,” she said.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” said 17-year-old Angela Cowles, Shanley Teens for Life president. She made her third trip to D.C. for the event.

“We weren’t expecting it,” Cowles said.

Cowles said her mission is to inspire students “to make abortion unthinkable, one student at a time.”

More than 2,000 people attended the conference and Shanley stood out, according to leaders with Students for Life of America, or SFLA.

The Shanley group included 105 students and several dozen chaperones who packed into three buses for the 25-hour drive to the nation’s capital.

“We were impressed by the size of their group and their dedication,” said Brendan O’Morchoe, SFLA field operations director.

O’Morchoe said Shanley was one of about a dozen nominated for the award among hundreds of high school pro-life groups nationwide.

Shanley students were recognized for conducting prayer vigils at school and outside North Dakota’s only abortion facility, the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, and for bringing in high-profile pro-life speakers.

The students are considering holding a pep rally to show videos and share stories of their time in D.C.

In addition to a plaque, the Shanley students took home a $500 prize.

While the group isn’t sure yet how the money will be spent, O’Morchoe said it’s most often used for travel or donated to local pregnancy help centers.

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