The Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest recently announced local school and grade winners for the 2019-20 contest.

Johnley Cadet and Alyssa Crowe were the school winners for Apalachee and Winder-Barrow high schools, respectively.

Blessing Oladosu was the 12th-grade winner at Apalachee. Honorable mention student writers included Aniyah Angelle, Mary Arroyo Vega, Julianna Elorza-Leyva, Rachel Morgan, Daniel Londono, Sofia Vaca and Kanong Vang.

The Rotary Club of Winder has partnered with Apalachee and Winder-Barrow on the contest for five years, according to a news release.

“We so appreciate this opportunity to recognize the excellent students at Barrow County high schools,” said Beth McIntyre, who serves as contest chair for the club. “We couldn’t do it without the help and support of teachers Becky Hasty at Apalachee and Michelle Harris at Winder-Barrow High School.”

For the 2019-20 contest, a total of 43,506 students wrote essays, and Georgia Laws of Life and 48 participating Rotary clubs throughout the state awarded over $20,000 in cash prizes, according to the release.

Awards go to 170 school winners and grade winners from 72 high schools. Additional students receive honorable mention recognition. Throughout the spring, winning students will read their essays for enthusiastic audiences at local and district-wide Rotary Club Zoom meetings. Georgia Laws of Life will also feature winning students in social media. See https://www.facebook.com/georgialawsoflife/ for examples of students reading their essays.

Rotary clubs across Georgia conduct the Laws of Life Essay Contest through the nonprofit Georgia Rotary Districts Character Education Program, Inc (GRDCEP). Rotary Club members volunteer to read and judge essays, serve on the contest’s Board of Directors, and volunteer their professional expertise to “help build character and ethical literacy among students.”

“The essay contest is an opportunity for Rotary clubs to share their ‘Service Above Self’ motto with local students and schools,” said Carol Gray, executive director for Georgia Laws of Life.

Since 1999, the Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest has impacted over 750,000 students, according to the release. Inspired by the power of simple quotes, or Laws of Life, Sir John Templeton established the writing competition in the 1970s to encourage young people to “embrace the wisdom of these sayings,” which he believed when followed helps everyone live their best lives, leaders said.

In their essays, students use a law to reflect on values that mean the most to them — values such as generosity, courage, perseverance, honesty, integrity and compassion, according to the release. Teachers at participating Georgia schools select the best work from among their students to enter in the contest.

The Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest is made possible through the support of local Rotary clubs, individual donors, corporations and a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

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