Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest

Rotary & Character Education

Georgia Rotary Clubs

Rotary clubs operate the contest through the nonprofit Georgia Rotary Districts Character Education Program, Inc. Clubs support the Laws of Life contest financially and recognize winning students at local and district-wide meetings and conferences. Rotary clubs also supply volunteers who read and judge essays, who serve on the contest’s Board of Directors, and who volunteer their professional expertise to help build character and ethical literacy in our younger generation.

Contest Timeline


April to August; President Elects confirm their club’s Laws of Life sponsorship during their year.


In August all contest sponsors and schools are invited to the Annual Teacher Workshop and Rotarian Luncheon.


Schools conduct the contest as part of their curriculum, submitting student essays by the February deadline.


February to April; members of sponsoring clubs are invited to participate in the judging of the student essays.


In March grade & school winners are announced. State winners are announced in April. Cash awards are mailed by May.


April and May Rotary Club School Partners recognize student essayist at their club meeting or special event.

Rotary & Character Education

George S, Dunwoody Rotary Club

“The Laws of Life Essay Contest is one of the easiest and yet most meaningful ways for a Rotary Club to establish a strong community-school tie. By sponsoring the contest, a Rotary Club can reach out to the next generation of young people, support its local educators, and make a valuable contribution to character education within its community.”

Rotary & Character Education

Dr. Don R, Bainbridge Rotary Club

“Writing a Law of Life essay creates a window into a student's life that allows them to be seen for what they are for the first time. The Georgia Laws of Life program helps to salvage futures through understanding and communication. That is why my Rotary club sponsors the program, and that is why Rotary clubs all across the state of Georgia came together to form a partnership to insure the future of this contest.”


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the contest?

The Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest is a character education and writing program for high school students, grades 9 – 12. Students are asked to select a saying or “Law of Life” and to show how the quote applies to their everyday life. The contest challenges students to reflect upon and write about core their own life experiences and values – values such as loyalty, generosity, courage, compassion, and perseverance.

How do schools benefit?

The contest provides each participating school with:

  • A valuable but cost-free writing program that meets the State of Georgia’s mandated character education requirement for grades 9 through 12
  • Student prize money, medallions and honorable mention certificates for each qualifying grade level
  • Teacher honoraria and awards
  • Contest materials such as a Teacher Contest Manual and sample lesson plans keyed to core curriculum standards
  • The opportunity to participate in a widely-recognized statewide educational program with significant teacher and student and recognition

How do students benefit?

One $100 school winner per school. Three $50 grade level winners, for each school that meets the minimum participation requirements. Five statewide student awards range from $1,000 to $200.

Through their writings, students have discovered meaning in simple everyday acts, found the proverbial silver lining in a cloud, recognized their own inner strengths, and learned to value relationships they once took for granted. The essays give students confidence in their potential to live meaningful and purposeful lives, and help students discover the power of the written word.

How does my club benefit?

As a Contest Sponsor your support provides a statewide life changing program for educators and students which encourages students to reflect on values such as those in the Four-Way Test.

Contest Sponsors may also serve as a School Partner, working directly with a school(s) in your local area. Clubs throughout the state are encouraged to participate with or without being a School Partner.

The average cost per school, including student and teacher prize money, school contest materials, essay publication, student recognition, and administrative costs is approximately $1,500 per year. Your support provides the program free of charge to Georgia Schools.

How does my club get involved?

Contest Sponsors

  • Recognition in the annual essay publication, on the Georgia Laws of Life website and social media sites, and on the contest display board
  • Club member volunteer opportunities including serving as an essay judge, a school liaison, or a Laws of Life Board Committee member
  • Governor citation awards as per club’s Rotary district


School Partners

  • The opportunity to host a Student Recognition Event which is great for the public image of your club and exposes students, teachers and parents to the ideals of Rotary and the Four-Way Test
  • A turn-key character education and literacy program ready to implement in your local community, with statewide coordination and administration provided by the Laws of Life contest.

How much does it cost?

As a signature program of Georgia Rotary Clubs, the Laws of Life Essay Contest reaches more students than any other Rotary program in our state. Last year more than 48,000 Georgia teens wrote a Laws of Life essay and the contest presented $22,000 in award money. Annually the contest generates more than 500,000 media impressions, putting the spotlight on Rotary’s emphasis on education, values, high ethical standards and service to others.


Rotary Club Sponsorship Levels

Rotary & Character Education


Rotary & Character Education


Rotary & Character Education


Rotary & Character Education


Rotary & Character Education