Gr 5 Up-These 62 award-winning essays were selected as the best of the 60,000 entries submitted by young people from all over the world through the Laws of Life program since its inception in 1987. Begun as the brainchild of Sir John Templeton, former Wall Street financier turned philanthropist, the foundation supports, among other things, the development of character education. Under the auspices of this program, communities in 23 of the United States and 30 countries now have some form of contest that challenges young adults (in some communities even elementary school children) to examine and explain the values, attitudes, or experiences that have helped shape who they are or who they wish to become. Among the categories included are: "On Courage," "On Perseverance," "On Optimism," "On Compassion and the Pursuit of Excellence." Most of the selections relate a story of how an encounter with someone less fortunate, someone with remarkably inspiring character traits, or someone who loved them unconditionally helped the young writers to determine their goals and personalities. The entrants range from age 9 to 20; consequently, the literary quality varies widely. Following each article is an explanation of the Laws of Life competition in that particular community, how long it has been in place, how it is supported, and what kinds of prizes are awarded.
Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY
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