Three Carbon County students have been named regional winners of the Diocese of Allentown's 26th annual "Stand Up for Life" essay contest.

Melanie Kirk of Albrightsville, a junior at Jim Thorpe High School, was a regional winner in the Senior Division for high school students.

Dean Richards of Jim Thorpe, a seventh grader at St. Joseph's Regional Academy and Alexandra Valusek of Lansford, an eighth grader at Our Lady of the Angels Academy were Carbon County winners in the junior division for seventh and eighth grade students. Regional winners were presented with certificates.

The theme of this year's contest for the senior division was "Living Our Faith." The Junior Division theme was "Life as Gift."

The Knights of Columbus and the Diocese of Allentown's Office of Pro-Life Activities sponsor the contest, which is intended to stimulate awareness of life issues among young people. The contest is open to all students in grades seven through 12 in diocesan schools and religious education classes. This year's winners were chosen from more than 750 participants.

The Knights of Columbus did the judging. Awards were presented at a banquet in Pottsville.