‘Laws of Life’ winners namedPublished 12:32pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Four Bainbridge High School students were specially honored at Tuesday’s Bainbridge Rotary Club meeting, after they were named the class winners of the “Laws of Life” essay contest.
The four students are freshman Quang Pham, sophomore Emily New, junior Jeannie Richards and senior Searcy Smith. Smith is also the school’s overall winner.
The Laws of Life essay contest is a statewide contest where high-school students are invited to submit an essay focusing on a “law of life” — a quote or saying by a famous person — as well as a specific character trait. They were then asked to write about the life experiences they have had, the lessons they have learned, and the people who have served as living examples of that “law of life.”
“These kids have written about something that happens to make us look at life in a different way,” said BHS English teacher Jeanine Halada, who introduced the students. “There is no right answer or quick response. The only instruction is for the students to write from the heart.”
Each of the four grade winners read their essays aloud for the Rotary members Tuesday. The topics of their essays included everything from dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to an accidental drug poisoning.
“Sometimes as teachers we forget that these kids have a life outside the classroom,” Halada said. “They face things every day that we can’t imagine, and the shoes that they fill walk some incredible journeys.”
This year, 1,100 students at BHS wrote an essay, which is a participation rate of about 81 percent. There were approximately 40,000 essays submitted from across the state.
Halada explained that even special-needs students were able to participate in the essay contest, by completing posters or a PowerPoint presentation. Halada shared several of those PowerPoint presentations Tuesday, including one student who wrote about his pet dog and based the presentation on the axiom “Happiness is a warm puppy,” by Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.
“This contest is not about who is the best writer,” Halada said. “It’s about who has the best message.”
Pham is the son of Ben Pham and Lan thi Thoang, and is a student in Halada’s ninth-grade Pre-AP class. New is the daughter of Chris and Randi New, and a student of Dr. Heidi Chambers. Richards is a student in Mitch Alday’s class, and Smith is the daughter of Mitch and Julie Smith and is also one of Chambers’ students.
Following the essay readings, the club recognized local sponsors who contributed to the program this year. Those sponsors included First National Bank of Decatur County, First Port City Bank, Don and Mary Robinson, the Bainbridge Rotary Club Past Presidents, and the 2013 Bainbridge Rotary Club.