Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest

Teachers Love Laws of Life!


What is the programs timeline?

The School registration period is in the late summer / early fall of each year. Essays are due in mid-February of each year, and school and state winners are be announced in March.

How does the Laws of Life assignment work in the classroom?

The contest operates through a high school’s English or Language Arts department. Registered schools receive a Contest Manual with sample writing prompts, sample rubrics, and sample lesson plans, as well as teacher tips and all necessary forms. However, the contest provides each teacher with maximum flexibility so that he or she can fit the writing assignment into every classroom. For example, the essays can be a graded or an ungraded assignment. Some teachers assign the essay as part of an American or World Literature class, while other teachers make writing a Laws of Life essay the first assignment of a school year so that they can become better acquainted with their students.

Does this meet the state mandated character education requirement?

Yes. An unfunded mandate that all Georgia schools provide character education was created in 1999, with the passage of House Bill 605. The Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest is a free, easy-to-implement way for high schools to simultaneously meet the mandate and support a strong language arts curriculum.

Does the Laws of Life contest fit in with Core Curriculum?

The Laws of Life assignment works well with Core Curriculum standards, and educators have stated that Laws of Life the essay can be used to meet several writing standards, including:

  • RC 3 – Acquires new vocabulary in each content area and uses it correctly.
  • W 1 – Establishes appropriate organizational structure, sets a context and engages the reader, maintains a coherent focus throughout, and signals closure.
  • W 4 – Practices both timed and process writing and, when applicable, uses the writing process to develop, revise, and evaluate writing.
  • C 1 – Demonstrates understanding and control of the rules of the English language, realizing that usage involves the appropriate application of conventions and grammar in both written and spoken formats.
  • C 2 – Demonstrates understanding of manuscript form, realizing that different forms of writing require different formats.

Is the contest endorsed by any professional organizations?

Yes. The Laws of Life Essay Contest has been endorsed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National School Boards Association, and the Georgia Department of Education.

What is unique about this writing contest?

The Laws of Life Essay Contest invites young people to reflect on and express in their own words the ideals and principles that guide them. The contest requires students to identify their personal values through a challenging and engaging writing activity. Unlike other writing contests, judging focuses more on the thought processes and self-awareness of the writer and less on grammatical ability. The contest allows students of all academic abilities — straight-A students, C-students, special need students, at-risk students and campus leaders — to receive recognition for their essays, something that is not possible in typical essay contests.

Is there a cost to participate in the program?

No, there is no cost to a school to participate. The contest is made possible by generous funding from Rotary Clubs of Georgia, the John Templeton Foundation, and other corporate and individual sponsors.

Are there cash awards or honoraria for students and teachers?

The Georgia Laws of Life presents approximately $20,000 a year in student awards and teacher honoraria. Each school Contest Chair who generates essays from at least 25% of his or her school’s enrollment (or 250 essays, if the school enrollment is less than 1,000 students) receives a $100 honorarium. (There is one designated contest chair per school.) In addition, the English teacher of the state-wide first place student winner also receives a $100 honorarium.